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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: DRAFT NOTES AND ANECDOTES

Monday, 06.29.2009 / 12:44 AM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
Arizona Coyotes
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

Well, I’m back in Phoenix tonight after covering the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal for phoenixcoyotes.com. It was a hectic yet fun weekend. Here are some notes and anecdotes:

• First-round draft pick Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a really nice young man and I am eager to watch him develop over the next few years. I spoke with Oliver’s father at length about his son, whom he trains, and he provided plenty of good insight. He said Oliver prides himself on crisply and accurately moving the puck to teammates. He also told me Oliver has a terrifc slap shot and wrist shot, but that he doesn’t shoot the puck enough. Oliver agreed and told me he plans to work on that.

Both Oliver’s father and his agent made a promise to him before the draft. The promise? If Oliver was taken in the first round they would both shave their heads. They did.

• I had to smile when I learned second-round draft pick Chris Brown was from Texas. I’d never interviewed a hockey player from the Lone Star State before. Brown, too, is a solid young man, and he handled his interview with me like a seasoned pro.

• Coyotes Associate Coach Ulf Samuelsson attended the draft and was beaming like a proud pop after his son Philip was chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the final pick in the second round. Philip entered the draft ranked 60th among North American skaters.

• The crowd inside the Bell Centre was really vocal, especially in the first round on Friday night. Islanders fans chanted "John Ta-var-es" over and over right up until just before New York drafted him. Meanwhile, Canadiens fans and Maple Leafs fans took turns antagonizing each other on both days. And on Saturday, one unidentified female fan screamed “Oh My God!” after it was announced the Coyotes had acquired defenseman Jim Vandermeer from Calgary. Why it affected her so? I do not know...

• On Saturday, the Coyotes acquired Finnish defenseman Sami Lepisto from the Washington Capitals. FYI, Lepisto’s godfather is Jari Kurri.

• And just in case you missed it during the TV coverage on Versus, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sent a pretty cool message, in Canada no less, when he announced that the No. 6 pick belonged to the "Phoenix (dramatic pause) Coyotes."  Bravo GB.

Thanks for reading.
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