Tigers say dreams of pro careers can wait

By BRIAN GOMEZ THE GAZETTE Updated: January 9, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: January 9, 2006
Brian Salcido catches Anaheim Mighty Ducks highlights “here and there.” Matt Zaba watches the Los Angeles Kings “every now and then.” Brett Sterling tries to “keep an eye” on the Atlanta Thrashers. Most Colorado College players who have been drafted by NHL teams don’t pay much attention to their potential employers, preferring to focus on the present rather than what’s often a pipedream. Chances are Sterling, who was selected by the Thrashers in the fifth round (145th) of the 2003 NHL draft, and right wing Joey Crabb (New York Rangers, seventh round of 2002 draft) will sign pro contracts shortly after they finish their CC careers this season. Both players realize they might never make the NHL. “There’s a real, real good chance that you’ll never make it,” Crabb said. “It’s such a long road, and it’s a tough road. There are no guarantees at all. I could have a career, and I could never play a game.” Said Sterling: “Right now, I’m more worried about what’s going on with our team. I’m playing for the Tigers, and that’s what I’ve got to be focused on.” Defensemen Tom Preissing (San Jose Sharks) and Richard Petiot (Kings), and left wing Noah Clarke (Kings) are the only former CC players currently on NHL teams. Preissing wasn’t drafted. Petiot was picked by the Kings in the fourth round (116th) of the 2001 draft. Clarke was selected by the Kings in the ninth round (250th) of the 1999 draft. Salcido said his parents used to be Kings fans before the Anaheim Mighty Ducks picked him in the fifth round (141st) of last year’s draft. They now root for the Mighty Ducks, although Salcido remains loyal to the Kings. “I don’t think it ruins anyone’s day if (the Mighty Ducks) lose a game,” Salcido said. Anaheim assistant general manager David McNab has maintained contact with Salcido all season, and a Mighty Ducks scout watched Salcido at last week’s Great Lakes Invitational. The attention hasn’t fazed Salcido. “It’s good to know that they’re there,” said Salcido, who hasn’t considered leaving CC after his junior season. “But you don’t want it to become a distraction because as a team, we’ve got a lot of stuff that we have to accomplish.” Left wing Scott McCulloch, who was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth round (165th) of the 2004 draft, didn’t like the distraction of a Chicago scout at the Nov. 19 game against Michigan Tech. He still scored a goal. “It can be a distraction for anybody if they just think of the future,” McCulloch said. “What you control and how you play, and what you do for your team right now — that’s what’s most important.” Selected by Los Angeles in the eighth round (231st) of the 2003 draft, Zaba follows the Kings mainly because he met coach Andy Murray and right wings Petr Kanko and George Parros at a prospects camp last summer. Zaba isn’t convinced he’s ready to forgo his senior season. “There’s a lot of rush nowadays for kids to make the jump to pro hockey,” Zaba said. “In reality, there are only 30 NHL teams, and there are two goalies per team. That’s 60 jobs. The chances of you breaking in right away aren’t going to be very good.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or brian.gomez@gazette.com
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