No. 2 pick Gabriel Landeskog: Oh, what a night

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 25, 2011 - 9:02 AM

Being drafted in the first round, as No. 2 pick Gabriel Landeskog was Friday, is just the beginning of a busy and exciting night.

view larger photos

  

 

Gabriel Landeskog arrived at the NHL draft Friday knowing his name would be one of the first called by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

But that did not erase the anxiety the 18-year-old from Stockholm felt as he sat in the stands at Xcel Energy Center with his family. Landeskog's father, Tony, was a standout in the Swedish Elite League from 1977 to '85, and Gabriel had dreamed of the moment that was about to occur.

A 6-foot, 207-pound left winger, Landeskog came to Canada two years ago in order to hone his game and spent the past two seasons with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. He had long prepared for the move to North America, studying English since the third grade.

Landeskog was attractive to NHL teams for a variety of reasons. He led Kitchener last season with 36 goals and a plus-27 rating despite an ankle injury that shortened his season to 53 games. He also became the youngest player in 30 years to be named captain of the Rangers when he was given that title at 17.

One of Landeskog's greatest attributes is his willingness to use his size to play a physical and feisty game, something not all Europeans are willing to do. He has gone so far as to tell the NHL website that he does not want to be considered a "soft European player," and his hockey idol growing up was fellow Swede Peter Forsberg, who mixed top-end skill with a physical style.

Landeskog's next step toward delivering on his goal of duplicating Forsberg's success came Friday night. Star Tribune reporter Judd Zulgad and photographer Jeff Wheeler were given behind-the-scenes access to see what one of the biggest nights in Landeskog's young life was like for him.

6:21 p.m.: The Edmonton Oilers begin the draft by taking center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.

6:29 p.m.: Landeskog, projected to go anywhere from second to fourth, doesn't have to wait long. Sitting in the third row of Section 102, he jumps to his feet as Colorado announces it is taking a player from the Kitchener Rangers. Landeskog's father, however, waits, knowing that his son's junior teammate, defenseman Ryan Murphy, also played for Kitchener. Any confusion is cleared up as Landeskog's name is given as the pick. A beaming Landeskog hugs his father, and his mother, Cecilia, and receives congratulations from his twin sister, Beatrice; his older brother, Adam, and his girlfriend, Rachel Jones.

6:31 p.m.: Landeskog pulls on a road white Avalanche No. 11 (for the year 2011) jersey over his dress shirt and tie and puts on a blue Colorado hat as he is greeted and takes photos with team executives standing on the stage.

6:33 p.m.: Let the interviews begin. Landeskog's first stop is TSN's broadcast area that is off to the side of the stage. He then is led down the stairs to do interviews with RDS of Canada and the NHL Network.

6:40 p.m.: Landeskog is escorted to the Avalanche's table on the arena floor where one team executive says, "Welcome to the fold." The meeting takes all of a minute as Landeskog is quickly ushered into the bowels of the arena to begin a whirlwind of interviews and autographs. Landeskog takes a minute to congratulate third overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau, who was taken by Florida. Landeskog checks his text messages as he makes the walk. "That's great," he said after reading one.

6:43 p.m.: Landeskog takes one of his few breaks of the night to tie his right shoe before heading into the media room. The interviews come fast and furious as Landeskog sits down with NHL Radio and then heads over to one of seven tables set up for a nearly 11-minute news conference. Speaking perfect English, Landeskog makes it clear he has his sights set on making the Avalanche next season.

6:57 p.m.: A reporter from the Denver paper and regional sports affiliate need time with Landeskog, who seems to have a constant smile on his face. One Minnesota fan, seeing Landeskog walk past the stands above, tells the rookie what the Wild is going to do to him next season. He doesn't break stride.

7:07 p.m.: Landeskog is told to head back to the media interview room and on his way sees Nugent-Hopkins wearing his Oilers jersey. The two hug. "I'm so excited for you, buddy," Landeskog says.

7:17 p.m.: Back in the hallway, he sees fellow Stockholm native Mika Zibanejad, who was taken sixth by Ottawa. Landeskog slaps Zibanejad on the back. Later the two will have a brief conversation in their native language.

7:18 p.m.: Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins and Huberdeau take a lengthy walk down the hallway chatting before heading onto the arena floor and having their picture taken in front of the stage.

7:20 p.m.: The interviews might be (almost) complete, but Landeskog is far from finished. He goes into a side room in the area where the locker rooms are located in Xcel Energy Center and signs a number of pucks that carry the NHL draft logo, as well as NHL draft and Avalanche hats. Following Landeskog are two volunteers who have a list of what he is supposed to be doing.

7:26 p.m.: Next up is the picture round. A TSN personality grabs him for what would qualify as a fun interview in which Landeskog is shown various rookie cards from guys who made their mark in the NHL. Landeskog is asked his opinion of all the hair former Penguins star Jaromir Jagr had back in the day. "I used to have long hair," said Landeskog, who got it cut short in order to look more professional.

7:29 p.m.: NHL Images wants photos of Landeskog with the other top picks. There is little time for a breather, but as he waits on a bench for his turn, Landeskog appears to allow himself a moment to soak it all in. A reporter points out they have him running around pretty good. "It's crazy," he said. An interview with a Denver radio station will follow, as will two more photo shoots and one more round of autographs to sign. Sometime around 8:30 p.m., Landeskog will be reunited with his family in the upper reaches of Xcel Energy Center.

sjdkfjslkdfjklsjdflkjsdklfjklsdjflksdjflksdjflkjsdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

See more of Star Tribune photographer Jeff Wheeler's pictures of Gabriel Landeskog's big night at startribune.com/wild.

  • related content

  • Colorado Avalanche pick Gabriel Landeskog during his post-draft news c...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 3 1st Half 11:55
Virginia 16
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 10 1st Half 12:28
Denver 16
St Marys-CA 8 1st Half 14:13
George Washington 7
TX-San Antonio 9 1st Half 11:49
Nicholls 9
Portland State 4 1st Half 16:10
Columbia 7
Tenn Tech 11 1st Half 10:09
Morgan State 15
SMU 5 1st Half 13:26
Auburn 13
Quinnipiac 14 1st Half 13:13
Hartford 8
Hofstra 4 1st Half 15:08
Boston College 2
Eastern Washington 16 1st Half 11:05
Georgia Southern 4
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close