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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 9:43 AM

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

Sharks looking for a match

For the second straight year, the San Jose Sharks have the 28th pick in the first round of the 2011 Entry Draft. Last year, they grabbed Charlie Coyle with that pick and watched him flourish as a freshman at Boston University and with the U.S. at the World Junior Championship.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson told NHL.com if he stays at No. 28 this year, he's sure he'll find another solid player. However, he's not afraid to move out of that spot -- either up or down.

"At 28 do we think we'll get a good player? Yes," Wilson said. "But if there's a player we need to move up a couple spots to get, we're willing to do that. And we're willing to move out of that spot and find a couple guys in the second round. We can do that, too."

Wilson said making that decision is two-fold -- obviously there has to be a player in mind, and he also has to find a willing partner to make a deal with.

"I think more and more teams are looking to do that," he said of moving at the draft. "It was tougher five or six years ago. I think there are more teams that are willing to look and be creative … It's matchmaking when you have those conversations."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 7:53 AM

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

Right on the 'Button'

When asked to comment on the life of the late E.J. McGuire, NHL Network analyst Craig Button found just the right words.

"E.J. had foresight and he had vision," Button told NHL.com. "But more than that, he had a love for the future of the game and the future of the game is these young players. We spend too much time picking apart players; E.J. celebrated their gifts and qualities that were going to make them special in the NHL."
              Craig Button, NHL Network analyst

Button was working for both the NHL Network and TSN on Friday during the fitness-testing portion of the NHL Scouting Combine at the Toronto Congress Centre.

"This Combine was his vision," Button continued. "It was about making it more thorough, more complete, and giving the teams the information they needed. We talk about the interviewing and fitness testing portion of the Combine, but E.J. was one person who always considered the medical testing equally important. We don't have to go back very far to remember David Carle and how a medical test saved that young boy's life."

An abnormality in Carle's heart that put him at risk for sudden cardiac death if he exerted too much energy was first detected by doctors at the Combine in June, 2008, prompting a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

NHL Central Scouting had Carle rated No. 60 among North American skaters that year, setting him up to go as high as the second round.

Thanks to McGuire's foresight, the young defenseman was properly diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- a thickening of the heart that had previously been cited in the sudden death of young athletes.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 12:50 AM

By Derek Jory -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

A lot riding on the Cup

Losing is a painful experience, especially in the Stanley Cup Final. A bet between friends has ensured it’s going to even more painful and permanent for one of them.

Five years ago Jamie Meegan and Ryan LeSage were sitting around the lunchroom at NRI Distribution in Kamloops, B.C., talking hockey. That conversation turned into spirited discourse, then angry arguing, which morphed into a hectic dispute.

Meegan, a lifelong fan of the Vancouver Canucks, and LeSage, a Boston Bruins diehard, were in the midst of painful off-seasons for their teams, but both had faith their squad would hoist the Stanley Cup before the other.

A money wager seemed too simple and temporary embarrassment wasn’t enough, so when co-worker Will Jordan spawned the idea of the loser having to get a tattoo of the winning team’s logo, the pair shook hands and made if official. Never in a million years did the counterparts imagine their teams would be going head-to-head for the Holy Grail, meaning they’d be going head-to-head in The Bet.

“To be honest,” said LeSage, a 30-year-old from Ontario, told the Canucks’ website, “we wouldn’t be talking to you if only one of the teams was in. It’s pretty phenomenal and amazing that it rolled out like this.”

“Ryan was all over it immediately,” said Meegan, 32, from Kamloops, B.C. “I was on the fence for a bit, then it became a reality.”

The official rules of The Bet are as follows:

-- Whichever of the Vancouver Canucks (Jamie’s Team) or the Boston Bruins (Ryan’s Team) wins the Stanley Cup next, the loser will tattoo the logo of the winning team on their body; basically the loser gets a tattoo of the team they hate the most.

-- The tattoo must be at least the size of a regulation NHL hockey puck (three inches in diameter). It can be placed anywhere on the body but must be shown (in any social situation) at the request of the winner. The tattoo will be completed within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final – and the winner pays

After the Canucks’ 1-0 win in Game 1, it’s advantage Meegan, but there’s a lot of hockey left to be played before needle hits skin.


 

 

 

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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 8:46 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Congressmen celebrate Bruins' trip to Final

Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts celebrated the Boston Bruins participation in the Stanley Cup Final at the Samuel Adams statue on Friday.

Both Congressmen represent the City of Boston and are founding members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who support youth hockey in America, particularly programs for disadvantaged and disabled youth who might not otherwise be able to afford to play hockey -- including support for the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone and NHL Street  programs, as well as USA Hockey's youth hockey initiatives.
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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 8:08 PM

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

Top HS prospect gets schooled at Combine

Mario Lucia got his first real taste of what it will take to earn a roster spot with an NHL team.

Lucia, projected to be the first high school player off the board at the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., was one of six scholastic standouts invited to the NHL Scouting Combine this week.

As expected, the Combine experience was something the Wayzata (Minn.) High School junior won't soon forget.

"I'm going to get some rest and a nice hot shower," Lucia told the media following the completion of his fitness testing at the spacious Toronto Congress Centre.


"It was an honor to be here, fun and a dream come true," Lucia continued. "There are hundreds and thousands of players that would like to be here in my position, and I'm just living it up and soaking it all in right now."

The son of University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia offers an incredible release, smarts and knack for putting the puck in the net. He said the bike tests were the most strenuous.

"The VO2 test was easily the hardest; that combination of the Wingate and then getting little rest in between is just a deadly combination," Mario Lucia said. "The Wingate wasn't too bad since it was 30 seconds but that VO2 is intimidating … you just have to go as hard as you can and it's the mental part of it. It's not just going as hard as you can, it's trying to stay focused and not giving up."

Since the 2000 Draft, 156 high school players have been plucked from prep schools throughout the U.S. Since 2003, 135 players have been tabbed.

Lucia, a left wing rated No. 34 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, had 25 goals and 47 points in 24 games at Wayzata. His team finished the season 20-6-2 following a 4-3 double-overtime loss to Eden Prairie in the Section 6AA championship at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis on March 2.

"I mean, everyone wants to be drafted in the first round and it would be a dream to go in the first round but my expectations are, hopefully, early second," Lucia said. "Either way, being drafted is an honor. It doesn't really mean anything at this point since you still have to work your way up there."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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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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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres