The NHL draft wrapped up a hectic month around the NHL, and for the top picks, it was an absolute whirlwind of activity. To get some perspective on what life has been like for
Relaxed and refreshed after participating in the World Championships for Team USA, Bogosian was in Atlanta for two days to work with kids at the Thrashers Hockey Camp and attend the team's sponsored draft party. At this time last year, Bogosian and the other projected top five picks were introduced at the 2008 Stanley Cup Final with press conferences and meet-and-greets that included the captains representing the finalists --
"Meeting them was pretty cool, and
Whirlwind for sure, for all high draft picks these days. According to Bogosian, though, the draft itself was the easiest part. "The night before, (Executive VP/ General Manager
Bogosian offered up his take on the head of the class of 2009: "Tavares is a strong player. He has been ready for this for a long time. He and I had a pretty good personal rivalry going, with me in Peterborough and him in Oshawa -- two teams in the OHL that don't like each other anyway. Hedman is really smooth and has good hands and he is really big. Duchesne is good in all zones and he's fast, really fast. They're all really good players."
So is Bogosian, who had a remarkable second half after breaking his leg early in his rookie season. It was almost as if the time off did him good after the non-stop hockey treadmill he was on. But things happen fast for all of the top players today and they must take everything in stride as so much besides simply playing the game will continually come their way.
The Lightning built their preseason ad campaign around top overall pick
Total immersion in the business side of hockey is the order of the day for all top prospects and the summer is full right up until training camp. Then they must clear their heads and begin to focus entirely on the game. Time off is rare, as are opportunities to simply act their age.
At the Thrashers Hockey Camp, Bogosian looked at ease as the instructor and was gracious during off-ice autograph sessions. Still, his big kid moments shone through, as he raced every eight-year-old in an off-ice obstacle course, sweating and grinning like a camper himself. With the older group, the fact that some of the skaters were only four years his junior wasn't lost on him, prompting Bogosian to admit, "That's pretty wild."
True. For the best of the best, the road to the NHL is a stiff test in and of itself. After the draft whirlwind, the grind really starts as the spotlight comes on and the pressure to respond to huge expectations begins. It's easy to see why someone like Bogosian would relish a little time to simply be a kid again.