So I'm back from a pretty amazing trip to the Czech Republic, spent mostly in a remote (and not-quite Internet connected) village that was my father's hometown, and I've just sifted through news to learn what I missed: Everything and nothing.
The Canadiens were sold to someone who doesn't sing bad sappy songs in Vegas, Jim Balsillie was turned back (again), the Isles hired a new assistant coach, and Garth Snow still isn't tipping his hand to what he will do come Friday night.
The following is something I truly respect about Garth Snow's approach:
"Honestly, and this isn't an indication of who we're taking or not taking, but we can't be concerned with public perception of what people think we should do," Snow said. "We owe it to our fans and ourselves to draft the player who we think gives us the best chance to win the Stanley Cup one day. That's the only consideration we have. That's all that matters."
That said, I'm very curious to know how Snow and staff determined, before the lottery -- and since confirmed by them afterward -- that a specific one of the top three prospects gives them the best shot at winning the Cup one day.
Maybe they see something in Matt Duchene that is otherworldly in character and leadership. Maybe they subscribe to a theory of championships built around cornerstone defensemen. But with the standard caveat that I'm not a scout, I'm not sure how they've determined one is a better bet than any other, and under those conditions I'd still vote for the star who will make an immediate impact both on and off the ice.
Of course, in the end these are but teenagers. And the Isles staff knows far more about these uncertain teenagers than I do, never having had them over for a slumber party or watched their every junior (or SEL) move. If Snow and company go with a non-consensus pick, I'll stand by -- and eagerly await the moment five years down the line when that pick really starts to pay off. Such is the position of the die-hard fan.
Stay tuned for much more draft coverage here and around SB Nation hockey blogs. (On that note: A big thanks to Doug/IslesOfficial for keeping things running here while I was in the figurative boonies. Look for more from him here and at his NYI Official's Outlook blog.) It's a big moment in the Isles history, and we'll be documenting it in between episodes of panic about the future.