Five years ago, Thrashers general manager Don Waddell was asked about his plans for the upcoming NHL draft.
“I’m not sure who we’re taking,” he said, as he looked in my direction. “But I can guarantee you we will not draft Jeff Schultz.”
It was pretty funny. But then we’re used to Don’s jokes around draft time. (Thank you. Now we’re even.)
Any way, the Other Jeff Schultz is a 6-foot-6 defenseman from Calgary, who was drafted in the first round by the Washington Capitals. The OJS is not known for his scoring. But last week when the Caps came to town, the OJS had a goal (a fortunate one from the length of the ice) and two assists and was named first star in a 5-4 win over the Thrashers. I was inundated by emails, Tweets and taps on the shoulder from people saying, “Nice game.”
I resisted the temptation to tell Waddell he should’ve drafted me. But I figured it was time for me to meet the OJS. With Washington back in town, that came Thursday morning.
As far as I can tell, the OJS and I only have one thing in common.
“I like to watch TV,” he said.
He’s 6-6. I’m 5-10. He’s 221 pounds and too thin. I’m not 221, but certainly not too thin.
He is 23. Hey, I used to be 23!
He was a first-round draft pick and has the contract to prove it.
I was a street free agent. Contract?
We both played street hockey as kids. But after middle school, I guess he had a better agent.
I’ve got one thing on him. I Googled “Jeff Schultz” and my blog site came up before his bio page. Hah!
Does the OJS get hate mail from Alabama?
“I don’t think so,” he said.
Any hate mail?
“I don’t know. If I don’t know who sent it, I don’t open it.”
Maybe I should try that.
Did the OJS ever want to be a writer?
“Writing and reading weren’t my strong points in school. I was strictly sports. Writing is one thing I would never want to do.”
What’s the last thing he wrote?
“Probably in high school. No, I take that back. I actually gave a speech at the middle school that I graduated from three years ago. That was a struggle. I had to get help from my girlfriend and my mom.”
Did you make deadline?
I love movies. The OJS says he watches them sometimes.
“I just watched Transformers 2,” he said. “That was pretty good.”
What about the classics?
“What do you mean?”
“I actually never saw that?”
Maybe Shawshank Redemption?
“Yeah! I saw that a long time ago. That was a good one But I kinda forget what happens.” (They escape.)
“People ask me that all the time. I’m like, why? Why read a book when I can watch TV?”
“Pretty much. I play hockey, go home and watch TV. Not an interesting life I have.”
Nice guy. Kinda ends there.
Wonder if there are any double-0 secret agents with my name?