Puck Daddy - NHL

(Ed. Note: Gabriel Landeskog is a winger for the Kitchener Rangers and is expected to be a Top 3 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. He's agreed to write a few Draft Diaries for Puck Daddy before and after the first round. Here's the first entry.)

Landeskog’s NHL Draft Diary: Log flumes and preparing for pick

By Gabriel Landeskog

My Draft week started Tuesday night, when I got to Minneapolis.

I had a breakfast meeting with my agent, Peter, on Wednesday morning and talked about the week and what the plans were. We had a pretty packed schedule starting with the prospects. For the most part, it was me, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dougie Hamilton, Seth Ambroz, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Adam Larsson.

I've been friends with Adam for the last three years, paying on U-16, U-17, and U-18 teams. I've gotten to know the other guys from the combine and going to Boston for the Stanley Cup Finals. We've gotten pretty close and become pretty good friends.

On Wednesday afternoon, we went to the Mall of America. My sister went to the mall earlier in the week and spent 11 hours. I have no idea how she did it.

Throughout the trip we were all mic'd up, I was mic'd for NHL Network and had a camera that was pretty much following me the entire way. It brought a lot of attention to us, a lot of kids wanted to be on TV and take pictures. We took pictures and signed autographs because everyone's been those kids' shoes and want to give back to them.

We went on a couple of roller coaster rides, on one of them there is some great audio of me and the other guys screaming like little girls. I've watched the video of it.

It's kind of embarrassing to see me screaming like that, especially because hockey players are supposed to be tough.

After the Mall, it was on to Sea Life to see the fish, sharks, and sport fish — it was cool to walk in the shark tank. I've never sent that kind of stuff before. Then we went to the World's Largest Lego Exhibit. There was a huge Transformers sculpture and Ryan said to me, "what do you think when you're done on the foot of that thing?  That you have four more years to go to finish the whole thing?"

We left lunch and headed to ESPN Studios in Minneapolis. Ryan and Dougie took some time to sneak in a nap on the bus ride and the other guys were chatting. We all had a TV interview for a local station and then did some radio interviews with ESPN. It was my first live radio interview.

I also found out that one of Ryan's nicknames "Hop-parazzi" because of all the media attention he attracted.

I'm going to call him that from now on.

While we were there, we were watching NHL Awards, and me and Adam were cheering loudly when Lidstrom won. I didn't get to see my good friend Jeff Skinner(notes) win the Calder, but I'm really happy for him.

When I got back to the hotel, I met with the CCM Hockey representatives and got my equipment. I will be playing with the U+ Crazy Light stick next season and the U+ Crazy Light skates. I went up to 90 flex on my on my sticks and had them make my skates a little bit wider.

I started playing with the U+ CL stick and skate after the season. CCM sent me some stuff. I went to Montreal to go on the ice and try the sticks and skates and I loved it. I discussed my stick with Jean Maximos and he said "Maybe we should try a more flexible stick," and my wrist shot really benefitted from it. The gear is awesome.

Thursday was just as crazy as Wednesday. We started out going to the American Development Model clinic run by the Minnesota Wild, NHL, and USA Hockey. To see the kids having a great time and laughing out there was great. I think me and some of the other guys had more fun than the kids at points, but the program did a great job of mixing in some fun stuff and real drills. Brian Burke was on the ice too, so it was a first to be on the ice with him.

After that, we had a Reebok-CCM press conference where we made the partnership official. In the press conference was me, Ryan, and Sean as CCM guys and Jonathan Huberdeau, and Adam Larsson as Reebok Hockey athletes. All of the guys are really excited to be working with such a well-respected brand and company.

Landeskog’s NHL Draft Diary: Log flumes and preparing for pick

After the presser, we went to an art gallery where they had a prospect lunch with 10 prospects: Dougie, Ryan, Seth Ambroz, Sean Couturier, Ryan Murphy(notes), Nathan Beaulieu, Ryan Strome, John Gibson, and Sven Baertschi followed by media availability.

I got a lot of questions about my accent. Some people don't think I have a typical Swedish accent. Sometimes I get more questions about that than my ability to play hockey. A lot of reporters were asking how I was managing to stay calm. I just told them that I was just wondering when I would get nervous.

After that, I laid low for a little while, I put on a suit and had a team meeting. It was my last meeting before the draft and I was excited to get it out of the way. I've done pretty much everything I can its up to me to enjoy the whole thing.

Then we went to dinner at a steakhouse with my agency, Octagon. There were about a hundred people from the agency. It was awesome to have everyone's friends and family there. It was nice to see everyone.

The dress code for Octagon dinner was business casual. We texted Huberdeau saying full suit and tie and wanted to him to come all dressed, but his agent told him that it was business casual.

We'll definitely get him another time.

Friday has been a good day so far, I woke up at 8 a.m. then went on YouTube and watched some videos of other guys getting drafted and wanted to make sure I don't mess up putting on the hat and jersey or trip on the stairs.

I went to the gym for about an hour to get my mind off everything for a little and now I'm going to meet up with my family and friends. We'll go for lunch and then we're off to the arena.

The nerves are starting, it's starting to soak in with what's going on. There's no turning back now and it's still surreal.

Ryan said it the best yesterday, "probably the moment we realize what's going on is when we walk up the stairs, shake Bettman's hand, and he says 'welcome to the NHL.'"

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