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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 7:30 PM

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

A look at the prospects who aced their Scouting Combine fitness tests

TORONTO -- The first day of NHL Scouting Combine fitness testing here at the Toronto Congress Centre has finished, so it's time to look at a few first-day leaders in some of the categories.

Peak power output -- The Wingate Cycle Ergometer -- also known as the bane of prospects' existence -- measures how hard a player can go in a 30-second shift. Portland Winterhawks forward Ty Rattie and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Jonathan Racine led the way at 15.9 watts of energy per kilogram of body weight.

VO2 Max test duration
-- The players who stuck with it the longest were a pair of defensemen, Skelleftea's Adam Larson and the Vancouver Giants' David Musil, each at 14 minutes. Next were Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Saginaw Spirit forward Brandon Saad.

Wing span -- Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Joel Edmundson, who stands 6-foot-4 1/2, had a 79.24-inch wing span, about a quarter-inch longer than Racine, who stands 6-1.

Body fat -- Rogle defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson measured in with only 3.6-percent body fat. The next leanest players were U.S. National Team forward Rocco Grimaldi and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink at 6.8 percent.

Long jump -- Racine pops up again, setting the standard with 119.3 inches. U.S. National Team defenseman Connor Murphy was second at 115.5.

Vertical jump -- Portland defenseman Joseph Morrow and Saginaw Spirit forward Vincent Trocheck had the best hops, scoring 30.3-inch vertical leaps, just ahead of Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening, who went 30.0 inches. Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day was turned in by the 5-foot-6 Grimaldi, who tied Racine for fourth at 29.8 inches.

Curl-ups -- Swift Current Broncos defenseman Reece Scarlett led the way with 51, with Murphy second at 48.

Grip strength -- The player you'd least like to shake hands with is Morrow, who measured 177 pounds with his right hand. The strongest overall grip, however, belonged to Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill, who was second to Morrow on right-hand grip at 162 pounds, and first with his left hand, also 162.

Bench press -- Clendening, McNeill and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco each did 13 reps with the 150-pound weight on the bench. Omaha Lancers forward Seth Ambroz and Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak were next with 12.

Push-ups
-- Clendening led the way with 40. Grimaldi was next with 39.

Push/pull strength
-- The hardest player to clear from the front of the net might be McNeill, who had 32 goals in 72 WHL games this season. His 366 pounds of push strength was far ahead of Oleksiak, who was next at 312. McNeill's pull strength of 306 pounds was second only to U.S. National Team forward Tyler Biggs, who totaled 323 pounds.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 7:03 PM

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

Bike tests drain Combine prospects

They refer to themselves as the "Dukes of Hurl."
 
In reality, Peter Becker and Sheldon Bonadie are certified exercise physiologists who just so happen to stick out like sore thumbs whenever the top hockey prospects in North America are forced to take the Wingate anaerobic bike measurement during the NHL Scouting Combine.
 
"It's a 30-second test and you go all out," Becker told NHL.com. "We motor with 9 percent of the player's body weight and we want to see how much power they can generate, how well they can sustain it over 30 seconds."

Becker and Bonadie aren't hard to find. They're the ones screaming at the top of their lungs at those prospects taking the Wingate test -- urging them to keep pushing, keep pedaling.
NHL hokcey draft prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins undergoes a physical test on a stationary bike at the NHL Scouting combine in Toronto on Friday, June 3 , 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Chris Young)
 
"Scouts will use it to see their motivation, how well they're able to push themselves. They will also look to see what kind of power they can generate. In other words, how efficiently they're going to be in a 30-second shift, which is average."
 
Following the first day of testing here at the Toronto Congress Center, linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Zack Phillips of the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League earned the lowest fatigue index scores in the Wingate test. That's quite an accomplishment considering both players went the distance in capturing the Memorial Cup championship on Sunday against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.
 
Bonadie doesn't believe scouts take into account whether Wingate participants might get sick, which is how Becker came up with the name, "Dukes of Hurl." In fact, a large garbage can is strategically placed nearby to both Wingate testing bikes.
 
"It all depends on what the scouts want to take away from it because one scout may say 'that guy is weak for getting sick' and the other may think 'that's the kind of effort I want to get '… I want my guys to give it their all, so they may think of that as somebody who is going all out. Whether you get sick or not, it doesn't affect how the test is scored or how it's determined."
 
Northeastern University defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, the tallest draft-eligible player at 6-foot-7 and 244 pounds, was pretty proud of the fact he didn't lose his composure after the bike tests. 
 
"I was kind of knocked out after Wingate and a lot of guys were getting sick a couple of times and I thought I might have to do it but I was able to hold it in and I'm pretty proud of that I think," Oleksiak said.
 
Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson of Skelleftea in the Elitserien and David Musil of the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League each lasted 14 minutes on the other strenuous bike exam -- the aerobic-max VO2 bike test, which measures the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles.
 
"The VO2 test is terminated in one of two ways," said A.J. Rampersad, a graduate student at the York University Human performance Lab. "If they can't keep up with the speed or physically aren't able to continue and they just stop. This test proves to a scout the endurance of a player; how much they can last throughout the game, can withstand those overtimes and how quickly they can recover."

Kitchener Rangers forward Gabriel Landeskog seemed glad the fitness portion of the Scouting Combine had come to an end.
 
"It was fun, I tried to have a smile on my face as long as I could and obviously the bike tests are real killers, but other than that it was a good experience," Landeskog said.
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:30 PM

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

Clendening on the bubble?

Boston University defenseman Adam Clendening is ranked No. 45 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. But he's the kind of player who, with a good showing at the NHL Scouting Combine, could raise his stock in the eyes of the scouts watching him here on the first day of fitness testing.

Clendening certainly put on a strong performance. He did the most pushups of any of the 56 players tested Friday; he tied for the lead with 13 reps on the 150-pound bench press; and his 30.0-inch vertical leap was second on the day.

"If I am a bubble guy and you put a big performance out, it'll pop into their minds, perhaps that's the difference," said Clendening, who had 5 goals and 18 assists in 36 games as a freshman at BU. "I thought I did well today. Some of the guys in there were pretty encouraging. One guy said I got the record so far with the pushups and tied for the bench (lead). I thought the Wingate (bike) went well, the VO2 (bike test) I went until I almost passed out. I went as hard as I could."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:15 PM

By Marty Turco -  NHL Network /NHL.com - Turco Talk

Players hate the second off day

Veteran NHL goalie Marty Turco is lending his expert opinion to NHL.com in the form of his own blog. Turco Talk will be updated daily with Marty's thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Marty can also be seen daily on the NHL Network giving analysis on NHL On the Fly at the Stanley Cup Final.

Today Marty talks about what it's like for players on the second off day between games and the benefits of the home team staying in a hotel:


VANCOUVER --
The second off day is always tougher at this time of the year, but I like to do a little road shopping if I get the chance. Certainly if I'm at home I'm with the family and kids and I look forward to having some nice downtime. You really can utilize the extra day to take a step back, spend some time with the kids and let some things go.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:10 PM

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

Coyotes considering move -- at Draft

Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said holding the 20th pick at the 2011 Entry Draft, as well as a pair of second-round picks, puts his team in a pretty advantageous spot.

"I like where we sit," Maloney told NHL.com during the fitness testing at the Toronto Congress Centre. "There's a lot of intriguing players that are going to be (available). It's an interesting spot to be in. We have two second-round picks. I know what'll happen -- we'll have the ability to move up in the draft, realistically we could move up five or six spots -- probably the most you could move up. Basically taking one of our seconds and our first, so somebody would have to drop to 20 and get a second-round pick. I know that'll be available to us depending on how the draft flows. On the other hand, we're not against looking and saying 'hey, we're at 20 to go to 25 or 26 or 27.' That could happen, too, to gain another asset in the second round."

While Maloney said he's open to moving back, he doubts he'll move out of the first round with any deal he might make.

"What you do when you get to your list, we might have a guy there at 16 that's a little under the radar, you take a risk to go back, maybe to 25, but 30 and beyond, that's a big drop," he said. "Probably that's too dramatic. Last year we traded down with Montreal, we we're sitting at 27 and we had the ability … the Islanders offered us three picks to drop back. We knew Visentin was a little high where we took him. It was up to (director of amateur scouting) Keith Gretzky and his staff. I said guys, here's an ability to trade down and get a couple second and I might have been able to do better than that, but they said no. We want to take the player. That drop --  we thought there's too much risk to get the guy we really wanted."

Maloney said wherever he ends up in the first round, he's got an idea of the kind of player he'll be looking for.

"We're not looking at a goaltender in an early round, that's a given this year based on what we did with Mark Visentin last year," Maloney said of the goaltender the Coyotes picked at No. 27 in 2010. "We would prefer, if it comes down to all things being equal, we might prefer a centerman to a winger, or we might prefer a defenseman to a winger. Either way, it's find the best top two-line forward or top-four defenseman, that's what we try to find where we're drafting."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 4:04 PM

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

No betting in Portland

Four members of the Portland Winterhawks were invited to the Combine, but only three -- Joe Morrow, Sven Baertschi and Ty Rattie -- took part in the fitness testing today. Tyler Wotherspoon passed due to injuries suffered during the WHL playoffs.

Among the three Winterhawks going through the fitness circuit, no wagers were put down on who would perform best on any event, or who could keep their breakfast down after bike tests.

"We support each other," Morrow told NHL.com. "It's more a friendly competition than anything more than that."

Morrow and Baertschi were in the same group, with Rattie about two hours behind them. Morrow said he would give Rattie a few details about the testing -- some real, some a bit of an exaggeration.

"I might tell him it's a little worse than it is just to scare him a little bit," Morrow said with a laugh.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 2:06 PM

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

Goalie test

The bike tests at the Scouting Combine are a nice opportunity to test skaters' endurance and recovery time between shifts. But how does it work for goaltenders?
 
"It was pretty rough," said John Gibson, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender. "Bikes are tough."
 
For a player who won't skate much more than a few feet most of the game, testing for speed bursts isn't something he'll have to worry about.
 
"Doesn't really go through your head in the moment, you just want to do the best you can," he said. "But now that I look back on it, it comes in your head, 'What did I do that for?' It gets you in shape, that's all that matters."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at
akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 1:18 PM

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

Nugent-Hopkins on the bench

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins accepts the fact that he'll never win any power-lifting competitions.
 
"I'm not a big bench press guy, as you can probably tell," he joked with reporters yesterday. But as one scout said, until a barbell starts scoring goals, he'll worry about bench press totals another time.
 
When Nugent-Hopkins' turn came on the bench, he did about six reps with the 150-pound bar. But his ability on a bench isn't why he's NHL Central Skating's top-ranked North American skater and a candidate to be the first pick of the draft next month.

"It went all right," he said after finishing the fitness testing circuit. "I don't have the biggest chest out there, so I didn't lift the most on the bench press, but I did alright."
 
Nugent-Hopkins is listed at 164 pounds, but he says he's put on five pounds since the season ended, and believes he could put on another five to 10 before next season starts. So he's not spending a lot of time worrying about how much bigger or stronger he might have to be to play in the NHL next season.
 
"I think about it a little bit," he said. "I'm not going to stress too much about it. I'm working hard at it, I'm trying to put on the weight and put on some strength. That's all I can do."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at
akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 12:10 PM

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

First through the Combine

Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Scott Mayfield, No. 24 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft, had the privilege of being the first player to complete the fitness testing circuit at the NHL Scouting Combine.
 
"It felt good," he said. "I'm done. I got it out of the way. I'll be on a plane home while some of the kids are still testing, so that's nice."
 
The fitness testing for the first time was held in a larger room at the Toronto Congress Centre, but a larger room allowed for more scouts, general managers and media to pack the room.
 
"That was new to me," Mayfield said. "You're definitely in the spotlight out here. I enjoyed it, though. It's something to compete in and I want to see how my results turned out against all the other kids here."
 
Like most of the prospects, the two bike tests -- the Wingate Cycle Ergometer, which measures a player's power output during a 30-second burst, and the VO2 Max test, which measures a player's endurance -- were the toughest.
 
"The bike tests are, of course, the hardest and I was on the bike quite a bit the last two months leading up to this," Mayfield said. "I think I did good. They didn't tell us our results, we won't get to see those just yet. I was happy with what I did. I definitely tried my hardest."
 
He had no shortage of motivation -- two trainers were screaming at jet-engine decibels inches from his face. 
 
"I got a personal trainer at home who told me to keep going … they told me they were going to be pretty loud," he said. "I said, be really loud, that pushes you that much harder. They were pretty loud in my ear."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.03.2011 / 10:08 AM

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

Fun, fashion and bike riding with top prospects

NHL.com videographer Steven Hoffner came up with a great idea -- take two of the top prospects here at the NHL Scouting Combine to the Eaton Centre, the biggest mall in Canada, conveniently located in downtown Toronto.
 
We piled into a rented Buick with Gabriel Landeskog and Mika Zibanejad, who have known each other since they were 8-year-olds growing up and playing hockey together in Stockholm. Landeskog, who plays for the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, is NHL Central Scouting's No.2-ranked North American skater in its final rankings for the 2011 Entry Draft, while Zibanejad is the No. 2-ranked European skater.
 
How did it go? Well the video here tells the story better than I can, but I'll try filling in a few blanks on a video shoot that had a little bit of everything.
 

Our first stop was H&M, a Swedish clothing store. We got the guys looking at jeans and ties and trying on a few hats and glasses. Landeskog, who you would think would be a familiar face in Toronto due to his success in the OHL, was recognized, but not for his hockey skills. A gentlemen saying he was representative of a modeling agency approached Landeskog and asked him if he would be interested in being a model. Landeskog politely declined, but I guess if the hockey thing doesn't work out, he's got a second career lined up.
 
Our next stop was music store HVM. Zibanejad eyed an Adam Lambert CD, while Landeskog found a Queen CD, and made sure to note that former teammate Jeff Skinner was a fan. And as a fitting cliché, the two young Swedes spent the most time with an ABBA CD.
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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory