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The NHL Draft is two days away. June 28th, 2023 is a day that we at CHGO Blackhawks have been looking forward to since the day CHGO launched back in March of 2022. I’m going to document the fun and the anxiety of our first ever draft trip in my CHGO Blackhawks NHL Draft Diary.
8:15 am | On the Road Again
The day started with Mario Tirabassi, Greg Boysen, producer Stephen Nicholas and our social media coordinator Kacy Standohar meeting at my house in Homewood. For once, living in the far south burbs paid off. We piled into the official CHGO Chrysler Pacifica and hit the road.
It took five minutes for our first animated discussion to begin. I mentioned I had motion sickness pills in the car for anyone who gets car sick. See, I can’t handle vomit in any form. I would have tuck and rolled out of the moving car if someone got sick. This brought us to a conversation about the movie Stand By Me, in which Lard Ass triggers a town-wide vomit outbreak.
Kacy had never seen the movie, so the old guys in the car (Greg and me) politely informed her it was time to give it a first watch.
10:48 am | The Hunger
Unlike Mario, the rest of us basically forgot to have breakfast, so we made a stop at McDonald’s in Lafayette, IN. It was fine.
1:01 pm | Something to Talk About
As we predicted, news broke while we were on the road. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first “credentialed” media member to hint at the Taylor Hall/Nick Foligno trade, but NHL Youtuber DontBeSaad20 was the person who truly broke the story at 12:47 p.m.
This is a trade that made almost too much sense for both sides. The Bruins shed cap space getting rid of Hall and Foligno, while the Blackhawks get some veteran help for soon-to-be Blackhawk Connor Bedard. Meanwhile, Ian Mitchell and Alec Regula, two defensemen who had been passed up in the Hawks system, get a fresh start with the Bruins organization.
We pulled over the the BP in Elizabethtown, KY for a quick reaction.
2:51 pm | I Wonder
Coldplay. Oasis. Dave Matthews Band. Radiohead. Extreme. All of these bands, and more, came up in conversation. Mario wondered what qualifies you as a “fan” of a band?
Was it a count of how many songs you had to like for it to count? Greg had a great response. “Would you pay money to see this band? If so, you’re a fan.”
What do you think? Respond to the tweet above.
3:00 pm | Chicken Fried
All this “hard work” called for a lunch break. We stopped at Against the Grain Public House in Louisville, KY. Their menu advertised “The World’s Greatest Chicken Tendies,” and as a fat guy, I owed it to myself (and the I’m Fat Podcast listeners) to give them a try.
Best in the world? I’m not sure about that, but they were excellent. I struggle to find a better tendie off the top of my head.
Against the Grain had a photobooth, and Kacy thought it was a good idea to take a pic, so we did.
4:19 pm | Nashville Skyline
Our long journey was finally over. We had arrived in Nashville.
Once we arrived at our AirBnB, we were greeted by PHNX’s Steve Peters and Craig Morgan. We got a grand tour, unpacked, and pondered whether or not to go to the NHL Awards. We decided against it, as we smelled like feet and would only have had access to the media room, so we decided to hit up the Publix, get some supplies and watch the NHL Awards Show.
7:00 pm | Hurt
Why…why…why are the NHL Awards always so damn awkward? Awkward jokes. Terrible bits. A disinterested crowd. An apathetic audience.
Here’s the thing…NHL players hate the spotlight. As cliche as it sounds, hockey culture dictates, or demands, a “team-first” approach. An NHL Awards show is antithetical to that mindset. The players don’t want to be there in the first place. Then, when they win, they feel awkward and embarrassed to make a speech focused on themselves.
The bits are horribly written. The main floor audience doesn’t even react, let alone chuckle.
How can the NHL fix this? Greg suggested having the winners awarded during an intermission of the Stanley Cup Final. They can all be announced, hold their awards on the ice, and then walk off. They can even spread this throughout the series, giving a pair of awards out per game. There are plenty of ideas that would be better than their current format. It’s a valiant effort, but it’s just not working.
Also, Gary Bettman is dyeing his eyebrows.
The real fun begins on Tuesday. At 9 a.m. we’ll do the AllCity mock draft with our pals from DNVR and PHNX, then at 11 a.m., we’ll do our first of three podcasts live from Nashville. At 1 p.m., we’re hosting our pre-draft party at Hopsmith in Nashville (for which a few tickets still remain).
Kyle Davidson talks at 3:30 p.m., then it’s off to dinner then bed before an historic day in Blackhawks history begins.
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