Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 10:42 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Kimball Union's Bird kicks off Combine workouts

TORONTO -- Forward Tyler Bird is used to working hard in the gym at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire. But he rarely attracts an audience during his workouts.

It was a far different vibe Saturday when he entered the testing room at Toronto International Centre for the fitness testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.

"Nobody's looking at you when you're at school," Bird told "You've got guys from 30 NHL teams watching [at the Combine]. It's a little bit more pressure."

Bird was the first player to go through the testing Saturday. That can be intimidating for some, but the 6-foot-2, 202-pound right wing didn't have a problem with it.

Posted On Saturday, 05.31.2014 / 10:23 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

DeAngelo hopes to show he's learned from mistakes

TORONTO -- Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo knew the 2014 NHL Combine was going to be his chance to set the record straight.

Considered by many to be one of the more dynamic point-producing defensemen available in the 2014 NHL Draft, DeAngelo found himself making headlines for all the wrong reasons this season when he was twice suspended for violating the Ontario Hockey League's harassment, abuse and diversity policy.

"At the Combine, I had a chance to tell everyone the type of person I am because I think there might have been some misconceptions out there," DeAngelo said. "I just tried to be honest with every team [during the interview stage] and talked to them and let them get to know me. It was great getting some tips on the hockey side of things; a lot of good people were trying to help."

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 6:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Functional Movement Screen test a hit with prospects

TORONTO -- The newest element incorporated into the NHL Scouting Combine, the Functional Movement Screen, introduced last year, was again a big hit with the top prospects.

The exam requires players to perform seven specific joint tests that ultimately could reveal imbalances and symmetry deficiencies in movements of the body.

Each movement in the seven tests is scored on a scale of 0-3, meaning that the highest possible total score is 21. According to research provided by NHL Central Scouting, a score of less than 14 might indicate a 75 percent likelihood of a future muscular or joint injury.

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 5:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Top-ranked Kapanen puts tough season behind him

TORONTO -- Kasperi Kapanen is happy to be the top player in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft.

That was about the only thing that went well for the Finnish forward this season.

Kapanen had seven goals and 14 points in 47 games with KalPa in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. KalPa won 15 of its 60 games, finished last in the league and scored 101 goals.

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

MacLellan embraces top role for Capitals at Combine

TORONTO -- In his role as assistant general manager of the Washington Capitals for the previous seven seasons, Brian MacLellan was part of the club's annual amateur scouting meetings and draft preparation, but it wasn't one of his main jobs.

Now that he's become the Capitals' general manager, he's gone from observer to the final authority.

"You have more responsibility to accept than [in] the previous position," MacLellan told "I think we have a good staff so I think the transition should be pretty smooth. It should work out well."

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:44 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Dumba's legacy helps Red Deer's Fleury at Combine

TORONTO -- Red Deer Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury feels pretty comfortable this week at the NHL Scouting Combine. He has a former teammate to thank for that.

Fleury, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, and No. 2 among defensemen, learned a lot from Matt Dumba, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Wild (No. 7) in 2012.

"He just tells me not to listen to all the outside influences," Fleury told "There's going to be a lot of critics during a year like this. Just play your game and showcase yourself as much as you can."

Dumba and Fleury were teammates in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, and kept in touch after Dumba started the season with the Wild and then was traded to the Portland Winterhawks prior to returning to the Western Hockey League.

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:42 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Bike tests loom for 2014 NHL Draft hopefuls

TORONTO -- The words "bike test" are enough to make any top draft prospect uneasy in the hours leading up to the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine.

The bike tests are daunting but important for any of the prospects looking to make an impression on NHL scouts and general managers. The heart starts beating faster the moment technicians duct tape the players' feet to the pedals in preparation for those two infamous tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and VO2 Max.

Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 11:33 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Florida GM Tallon open to options in No. 1 slot

TORONTO -- There are many advantages to being the general manager of the Florida Panthers. For Dale Tallon, who has held that position since May 2010, one of his favorites is getting to meet some of the top draft prospects at the NHL Scouting Combine.

"One of the great perks of this job is getting to meet all the young kids and see how they handle this pressure," Tallon told "It's not easy coming into meetings at this age. I don't know if when I was 17 or 18, I certainly wasn't capable of doing this. It's great to see the maturity process and the development of these young people. Every year seems to get better and better."

The Panthers won the NHL Draft Lottery and hold the No. 1 pick, but Tallon said he's open to moving the selection if the right trade came along.

Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

USNTDP's Milano the man with the 'magic hands'

"He probably has as much skill and puck skills as anyone I've coached in 15 years," USNTDP U-18 coachDanton Cole said. "He does some amazing things with the puck."

As a freshman at Portledge School (N.Y.) in 2011, Milano was awestruck by an video showcasing the magical hands and creativity of then-Saint John Sea Dogs right wing Tomas Jurco. Jurco went on to be selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (No. 35) of the 2011 draft.

"Me and my friend, Brandon Fortunato, watched Jurco do those tricks during a lunch break," Milano said. "We saw that and said let's try doing that in the lunch room at school. We started stickhandling and doing those tricks the whole year. It was a little private school so we went outside in the parking lot to do them whenever we could."

Milano got pretty good at it.

Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 9:46 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2014 NHL Combine

Lowest-ranked invitee Middleton has high aspirations

TORONTO -- Defenseman Jacob Middleton of the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League has nothing to lose and everything to gain as a participant at the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine.

Middleton is No. 172 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia next month. Despite being the lowest-rated player of the 119 prospects invited to the Combine this week, his spirits are at an all-time high.

"Knowing where I stand in the rankings, this gives me an opportunity to talk to teams and have them get to know me, because from the sounds of it a couple teams wanted to meet with me, which is an honor," Middleton told "To get this opportunity is exciting and I'm going to make the most of it."

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