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Better late then never for Jurco

Wings make Memorial Cup winner their first '11 pick

Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 1:19 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Better late then never for Jurco
ST. PAUL, Minn. – With the exception of one little thing, Tomas Jurco has had an expectedly exciting summer.

His junior team, the Saint John Sea Dogs, were crowned Memorial Cup champions, and Saturday he was selected by the Red Wings in the 2011 NHL draft at Xcel Energy Center.

Not bad, ay?

But unlike three of his Sea Dogs teammates, all chosen in Friday’s first-round, Jurco was a bit miffed to still be around on the draft’s second day.

“I was kind of upset and it was kind of hard for me to sleep, but now it’s all good and I’m happy to be a part of the Detroit organization,” said Jurco, a 6-foot-2 forward from Kosice, Slovakia.

The Sea Dogs were loaded with incredible NHL-like talent this season, boosting nine players eligible for the 2011 draft. The Saint John squad had a trio picked Friday – center Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida, No. 3); defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (Montreal, No. 17); and center Zack Phillips (Minnesota, No. 28).

“We knew that four of us could possibly be first-round picks,” Jurco said. “So we knew that this would be a big thing for our team. I’m really happy for my three teammates who went in the first-round. For me, maybe it’s better that I didn’t go until the second, because know I’m with Detroit and they’re a really good team, and I hope they’re going to give me a chance.”
Tomas Jurco

While falling out of the first-round is now water under the bridge, Jurco pointed to what he called a less than stellar regular-season for his falling out of the first-round.

“I didn’t have a good regular-season,” Jurco said. “I think I had a good playoffs and Memorial Cup. I was still hoping that I could get into the first round, but it’s all good.

“I would have three really good games then I would have a bad game. That’s what the scouts don’t like to see, but I think there are a lot of players like that. I think maybe it was because it was my draft year and I was thinking about it. Next year will be all good. No problem.”

Yet Jurco is an amazing talent. His YouTube videos alone are worth getting excited over. He also dazzled at the CHL top prospects skills competition. Even with a team stacked with talent, Jurco managed to make a name for himself, netting 31 goals and 25 assists in 60 games for coach Gerard Gallant, the former Red Wings forward.

“He was a great player and he’s an even better coach,” said Jurco, of playing for the former Wing. “That’s why we were so successful, because he knew what to do with the team.”

Like many young, talented forwards, Jurco says he fashions his playing style after Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk. “He’s a similar player to me,” Jurco said. “It’s going to be great to see what he can do on the ice and I’m just going to learn some of his moves.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


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