CHICAGO — Nico Hischier was nervous, swaying a bit as he spoke to the media, admitting he had some jitters as this NHL draft approaches on Friday.
About 60 feet away, Nolan Patrick leaned on a stick and said not only was he not nervous, he also really couldn't care less whether he's picked first overall Friday by New Jersey or second by the Flyers because his goal is just to get into the NHL.
"Doesn't matter to me," Patrick said Thursday. "A lot of guys will tell you what you want to hear. That they don't care, but deep down, they do.
"I don't care. It's not going to change my chances in the NHL if I go No. 1 or 4. I'm gonna take it. Where I go is not gonna help me any more. At the end of the day, I've got to work hard."
That said, Hischier is poised to become the highest-drafted Swiss player ever and if he went first overall …
"I would make history and that would make me proud," Hischier beamed. "Really happy, for sure."
Both players participated in Thursday's ball-hockey clinic in a parking lot just across the street from United Center where one of them will go to the Devils and one to the Flyers on Friday night.
"Yeah, I little bit nervous," Hischier admitted. "It's not up to me. I just have to enjoy it."
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took both players out to dinner separately in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month at the NHL Scouting Combine to try and get a peek behind their personalities (see story).
"We talked about Philadelphia, talked about the club, the goals, what's important for them," Hischier said. "It was good dinner and went well."
Patrick, who is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, said he was impressed with the steakhouse and said what he liked best about the meal was getting into arguments with fellow Manitoban, Hextall, who is from Brandon.
"He's a really nice guy," Patrick said. "It was a fancy steakhouse. I'll take those dinners any day. He knows what he is doing in Philly. If I were lucky enough to go there, I'd be happy.
"I know all about him. He's a Brandon Wheat King. Us Manitobans always going at each other. We got into a few arguments about some of his guys. Manitoba is the best place in the world."
Right now, for a couple hundred hockey players, Chicago is the best place in the world because this is the NHL draft and what happens Friday and Saturday will impact their lives forever.
Which is why Hischier brought his older brother, Luca, here. He plays for Bern in Switzerland where Hischier also was before transferring to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to play for Halifax this past season.
"My idol is my brother," Nico said. "He is playing pro in Bern. We have a good relationship. I'm happy he is here because I can ask him everything, on and off the ice."
Both players have some Flyers familiarity.
Hischier skated with Mark Streit last summer but hasn't talked to him since.
"Last summer, I skated with Streit, [Roman] Josi, [Shea] Weber and those guys," Hischier said. "It was fun."
Patrick played with Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov two years ago in Brandon.
"Talked to Provy two weeks ago," Patrick said. "I was talking to Brayden Schenn the last couple days. Provy works out 10 hours a day."
A few weeks from now, one of these guys will be at the Flyers' developmental camp working out in Skate Zone.
"It's not up to me," Hischier said. "I don't focus on expectations, I don't focus on teams. Everything can happen.
"I'm going to be open for everything and happy, for sure. If it's No. 2 or 3, I'm gonna be happy anyway."