Well, Scott Hartnell may have been Bovada's odds-on favorite to be the last pick in the NHL All-Star Game draft, but in fact, he was selected a few rounds before Logan Couture took that honor (and the free car that came with it).
Hartnell will skate as part of Team Alfredsson, paired with Claude Giroux, the MVP-caliber forward that has been a huge part of Hartnell's career season to date. Giroux was selected in the fourth round, just before Kimmo Timonen went to Team Chara in the fifth. Hartnell sweated out the "last pick" with an esteemed group, but was selected by Daniel Alfredsson before four other All-Stars.
Watching Hartnell wait for his selection, laughing all the way, then putting on his All-Star jersey with legitimate pride, it was hard not to feel the exact same for him as a fan.
No one would have taken being the final pick better than Hartnell, and we all probably missed out on some great comedy in how he would have handled it. But Harts is having one hell of a season, and there was no joke involved in the fact that he was absolutely deserving of his acknowledgment as one of the league's best players on Thursday night.
Harts is often credited as an efficient pest, but this season, he's also been a clearly dangerous scorer and is often mentioned as one of the league's top power forwards. He has benefited from playing with Giroux, but the same is true in reverse.
As for G and Timonen, it was also great to see them standing among the elite of the elite. Giroux is as good as it gets, with room to get even better. Timonen drew the respect of the league's pre-eminent blueliner, and no one can argue he isn't one as well.
Rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read are both on Team Alfredsson.
And, there's already been a Hartnell headline on Puck Daddy. It appears that, due to short commercial breaks, bathroom time was a premium on draft night. Perhaps due to their familiarity as teammates and good friends, Hartnell and Team Chara alternate captain Joffrey Lupul did some sword-fighting backstage. Not hard to imagine them having … never mind.
Complete draft proceedings…