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It is currently 11:18 pm. I am sitting in bed at the AirBNB the ALLCITY Network rented for our trip, and I’m about as tired as I’ve ever been. These four days in Nashville have been an exhilarating whirlwind. We’ve lost track of what day it is several times, referring to the trip, that took place Monday through Friday, as “this weekend.” Exhaustion aside, I can’t think of a better and more satisfying week in my career. When I joined CHGO, this is the week I dreamed I’d be able to have, and I did. Alright, enough drama. Let’s get to the final installment of my CHGO Blackhawks NHL Draft Diary.
8:15 am | On the Road Again, Again
With rounds two through seven of the NHL Draft taking place on Thursday, the CHGO crew had to wake up early to make it in time. We tried to take a detour to Starbucks, but it was one of those weird hotel Starbucks and we couldn’t park anywhere, so we just went straight to Bridgestone Arena. Day Two was much less crowded, but more stressful than Day One.
9:48 am | Boot Scootin’ Bailey
Moments before the second round began, the Hawks announced that they had acquired Islander forward Josh Bailey and a 2026 second-round pick for future considerations. This made all the sense in the world, considering we all knew the Blackhawks were looking to take on expensive deals to reach the cap floor and gain more draft capital. But it wasn’t to be. The Blackhawks placed Bailey on unconditional waivers for the purposes of a buyout.
The Blackhawks will carry Bailey’s $2.67 million cap hit this year, and a $1.67 million hit next. A small price to pay for a second-round pick.
“I have great respect for Josh’s career,” Davidson said. “I didn’t necessarily see a clear path to a role for us, so better to give him the opportunity to find that elsewhere than be in-and-out and not have a true role with us.” Thanks for the memories, Josh Bailey. We’ll always have those 30 minutes in Nashville.
10:15 am | Crazy
At 10:15 am, the Blackhawks made their first pick of the second round, selecting goaltender Adam Gajan of the Chippewa Steel of the NAHL. Moments, later, I was summoned to the media center, which is a five minute walk from the media riser on the draft floor. By the time I got down to the floor, Gajan had begun speaking.
By the time Gajan had finished speaking, the Blackhawks had selected Russian winger Roman Kantserov at 44 and Martin Mišiak at 55. Moments later, Misiak was speaking to the media.
To be honest, I can’t remember what happened next, but I do know I looked up, and another Blackhawk was speaking. I began filming the interview, not having a clue who this person was, where they came from, what position they played, etc. but I just let the tape roll. I leaned over to one of my colleagues on the Hawks beat and said, “Who is this?”
It was Nick Lardis, who the Hawks had chosen at 67.
Things got back to normal after that pick, but I’ve never felt so discombobulated in my life. How could I ask a question to a prospect when I didn’t know his name?
11:22 am | (New) Friends (from) Low Places
Charlie Roumeliotis had it first as far as I can tell. Corey…Perry…was…a…Blackhawk.
I mean…this guy was public enemy number one, not just in Chicago, but for pretty much every team he ever played against. Blackhawks fans were upset, stunned and making their feelings known on social media.
To be honest, I didn’t love it either. But then I was reminded that Luke Richardson knew Perry well from their time together in Montreal. I was also reminded that the Max Domi signing last year left me feeling kind of the same way, but it was his relationship with Richardson that drew him here. At this point, if Richardson thinks it’s good for the team, then I’m good with it. There’s nothing in his makeup that suggests he’d do anything to sabotage the culture he’s built. Perry’s teammates adore him, and if he was the pudwhack most NHL fanbases think he is, he wouldn’t still be getting contracts at age 38.
“Amazing veteran presence. Knows what it takes to win. (Luke) saw how he worked with some of their young players and saw a great benefit in what Corey did.”
Oddly enough, Greg Boysen teased this idea on our show last Friday. We all kind of laughed and thought “no,” but the more I think about it, the more I like the move. He can be flipped at the deadline, and slash the knees of anyone that gets in Connor Bedard’s grill. Win win!
1:15 pm | The Party’s Over
I have to say, Day Two of the draft flew by. We were out the door and on our way home by 2:30, but we had to hear from Kyle Davidson and Mike Doneghey first. As both men were speaking, we received word that the weather was so bad outside, that we wouldn’t be allowed to leave Bridgestone until we had the all clear. A chaotic end to a chaotic draft day.
2:30 pm | Take Me Home, Country Roads
The weather cleared and we headed back to our AirBNB studios to do the post draft show. It was good. You should watch/listen.
4:45 pm | The Hunger
The ribs were absolutely killer. They weren’t all fall-off-the-bone wet and slippery, but they weren’t tough at all. They were perfect. The Pegleg Porker dry rub is really what made the whole thing, and I’m kicking myself for not taking a bottle home. If you’re in Nashville, don’t miss this place.
8:15 am | Love Story
I think the non-hockey highlight of the trip was Greg, Mario, Stephen, and DNVR’s Meghan Angley helping Kacy with her dating app matches. Kacy cast her phone to our TV, and we went man-by-man, trying to help her find her true love. All we found were pudwhacks, mostly.
I love these people. I haven’t laughed this hard in some time. If you know someone for Kacy, let us know. No pudwhacks allowed.
8:45 pm | One More Night
As tired as we were, the strip was just an Uber ride away, so we had to head down one more time. First stop was The Stage, which became a bit of an ALLCITY Network headquarters. The place smells like new cowboy boots, the beer is cold, and the bathrooms are much cleaner than any honky tonk’s bathroom has any business being. We shifted over to Tootsie’s, as it has somehow become the NHL’s drinking headquarters.
There wasn’t as much “star power” on Thursday night at Tootsie’s as there was Monday night, but there was still an impressive amount of NHL staff and media enjoying the festivities. In fact, five minutes after our Uber picked us up to bring us home, Elliotte Friedman tweeted from the exact spot we were standing.
Guess we’ll catch you next time, Friedge.
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