[Bits] Remember: Smile, hug for dad, hug and kiss for mom, chaste hug for girlfriend, handshake and bro hug for everyone else

OK? Who's going first? (in unison) ME! - Mitchell Leff

It's 7:30 am. Do you know where your NHL Draft eligible child is?

After 12 months and a million previews and predictions, the NHL draft is here again. Stay tuned for Lighthouse Hockey's full coverage of the event starting a little later this morning. For now:

Islanders links

  • Going into the draft, GM Garth Snow is a man with a lot on his mind. [New$day]
  • New$day's Arthur Staple sat down with blog Pro New York Sports to talk about the draft and some behind the scenes goings-on with the Islanders.
  • Controversy! Travis Hamonic comes in at No. 3 on our Top 25 Under 25 list, setting up a religious experience for the near future.
  • Jess Rubinstein at Islanders Insight makes the case for the team to draft hulking forward Nick Ritchie.
  • Sad news: former Islander Gino Odjick has terminal heart disease. [The Province] Gino wrote a heartfelt letter to Canucks fans about what he's going through. Godspeed to him.

Draft-y Stuff

  • You'll hear a lot of familiar names during the draft with nine sons of former NHLers available. [Medicine Hat News]
  • What makes sons follow their dads into hockey? [Hockey in Society]
  • Current NHLers taken in the final round of the draft. I like to call them, "strokes of dumb luck." [The Hockey News]
  • Sonny Milano, Long Island kid and possible first round pick. [New$day]
  • The draft lottery is going to change starting next year. Sorry, Sabres. [ESPN]
  • Developing goalies is very difficult and can take years. You don't say. [Boston Globe]
  • Ranking the best first overall picks of the last 20 years because clicks. [The Score]

Wait there's more

  • Prepare thyself for the announcement of next year's salary cap number. Coming soon. [NHL.com]
  • Poach a coach, pay a price. A compensation policy could be coming back to the NHL. [The Score]
  • UFA target Matt Niskanen talks about what he's looking for in a new employer. [Post-Gazette]
  • New York writer Larry Brooks complains about Nikita Nikitin getting too much money because it could affect the Rangers' negotiations with Anton Stralman. Edmonton writer David Staples complains about Brooks' complaining. [Edmonton Journal]
  • About those Stralman talks: they're getting bumpy. [Pro Hockey Talk]
  • About that Nikitin contract: He ain't that good, especially for that price. [Tyler Dellow at Sportsnet]
  • A handy buyout tracker, showing who's gone and what teams still have bullets in the chamber. [Sportsnet]
  • Sidney Crosby needs to put a smile back on his face. The Penguins should have hired NHL Executive Director of Smiles and Having Fun Out There Pierre McGuire.
  • Friend of the blog Laura Saba compiles a starting point for anyone that wants to get into NHL analytics. [Eyes on the Prize]
  • Speaking of fancy stats, how do teams use their top defensemen? [Hockey-Graphs]
  • Report: Two great players want a shitload of money to continue being great together. [TSN.ca]
  • You know how we always joke about Eddie Olczyk talking about horse racing during NHL broadcasts on NBC. Well, guess what? Eddie Olczyk will soon be talking about horse racing during NBC horse racing telecasts. Now, all you young jockeys at home, watch what Kent Desormeaux does right here... [Awful Announcing]

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