Russell busy trying not to get caught with ‘pants down’ at import draft – Metro US

Russell busy trying not to get caught with ‘pants down’ at import draft

Cam Russell’s phone was ringing off the hook yesterday.

The Halifax Mooseheads’ general manager was busily preparing his list of candidates to select at the No. 28 slot in today’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

“I’ve had to recharge my cellphone twice already today,” Russell said late yesterday afternoon.

“You try to use as many connections as you can and just try to do your homework so you’re not caught with your pants down on draft day.”

An unexpected turn of events has left Russell in an unfortunate position. His predecessor, Marcel Patenaude, traded what eventually became the No. 1 overall import pick to the Saint John Sea Dogs to acquire Pascal Amyot.

That trade became a devastating blow when Czech sniper Jan Stransky decided he was done with the Mooseheads and signed a two-year contract in his home country.

Russell said a 17-year-old would be ideal, even if the player isn’t prepared to report until 2010-11. He said he isn’t drafting by position because his team — coming off a last-place finish — needs help just about everywhere.

“We’re open to bringing in the best player right now,” Russell said. “We’re trying to get younger and we’re going to play our young guys. We’re going to take our lumps, but we’re not bringing guys in just to sit in the stands all year.”

Czech forward Tomas Knotek, the Mooseheads’ reigning team MVP, is the only European on the roster.

Halifax is scheduled to pick at 3 p.m.