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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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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 6:59 AM

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

Infamous bike tests loom for young prospects

In the summer before the 2010 NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin opted to give the aerobic-max VO2 bike test a shot "just for fun" with his agency.

Those familiar with the test, which measures the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles, knows it happens to be the most grueling of all the endurance tests conducted by York University for the benefit of the 30 NHL teams.

"I ended up throwing up after the VO2 (during the practice run)," Seguin said. "It's very difficult. You try to stay positive. I talked to guys who did it the year before my draft year and talked to guys who did it for practice. They said the bike tests are pretty hard. You have casual stuff, like bench press, push-ups, sit-ups, which you've done before. But the bikes are quite tough."

Seguin survived the Combine phase of the bike test and would ultimately be chosen second overall by the Boston Bruins at the 2010 Entry Draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Last year, six players lasted more than 14 minutes on the VO2, led by Slovakian defenseman Martin Marcincin, (14:15), who was drafted by the Oilers in the second round (No. 46 overall). Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault, taken by Columbus in the fourth round (No. 102 overall), went 14:03.

Four players went exactly 14 minutes -- South Shore forward Charlie Coyle (San Jose, first round, No. 28 overall), AIK defenseman Patrik Nemeth (Dallas, second round, No. 41 overall), Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Dylan McIlrath (New York Rangers, first round, No. 10 overall) and Medicine Hat Tigers right wing Emerson Etem (Anaheim Ducks, first round, No. 29 overall).

NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-rated North American skater, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer, is looking forward to the bike tests. Nugent-Hopkins is actually one of eight prospects ready to hit the fitness testing portion of the Combine first on Friday. Included in that group are Tyler Biggs, Mark McNeill, Logan Shaw, Rocco Grimaldi, Nicholas Shore, Scott Mayfield and Jamieson Oleksiak.

"I've heard about the bike tests (Wingate anaerobic measure and aerobic-max VO2) and I know they'll be pretty tough, but I think my cardio is pretty good so I should be OK on the VO2," Nugent-Hopkins told NHL.com. "But the Wingate is pretty tough. I'm trying to prepare myself for that, but I guess you never can prepare yourself enough for it."

It isn't too uncommon to see a few players cradling a trash can following the Wingate test, an obvious indication that their body has had enough.

"I've heard stories (regarding the bike tests) that haven't been too positive," said No. 31-ranked North American skater Seth Ambroz of the USHL's Omaha Lancers. "But it'll be fun to see what happens. I'm not too worried about it. I'm just going to go there and give them all I've got."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 9:01 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Something's Bruin in Boston

The city of Boston has embraced the Bruins during their run to the Stanley Cup Final, and that was evident when the television ratings for Game 1 where released Thursday.

Game 1 between the Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks earned a 3.2 overnight rating and a 6 share nationally, making it the most-watched opening game of the Final series since 1999. A big reason for that was the huge numbers in Boston, where the game had a 25.5 rating and a 39 share.

"I think it's great news. It's awesome," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "To be honest, back home we could feel it. The whole city was really behind us. They still are behind us throughout the playoffs and the season. It means a lot to us. Obviously we want to do it for them. But we can feel all the support and that's something great."

To put it into perspective, Game 1 actually had better ratings in Boston than Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which featured the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Boston Red Sox have also moved the start time of their game Saturday to allow fans to watch Game 2 of the Cup Final and still attend the contest at Fenway Park.

"That's the respect there is in Boston as far as the Red Sox are concerned," coach Claude Julien said. "They're big fans of ours and we're big fans of theirs. That's something that has been going on for a long time now. That's what Boston is all about. They're supportive of all their teams.

"Obviously, hockey for the longest of times was something so big in Boston. It kind of lost its luster in those difficult times. I think right now what we're seeing is it's certainly coming back in the right direction. It's been a lot of fun being part of it."
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 8:31 PM

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

Reactions to Game 1

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.

For his entry on Thursday, June 2, Marty writes about what it's like for the teams the day after Game 1 of a series.


VANCOUVER --
After a hard fought, physical, very intense game that could have gone either way with both goalies playing well, for the Vancouver Canucks, I just imagine everybody is probably pretty happy, but you also have to expect some changes coming from the other side. You want to stay ahead of the game so they better expect some changes, whether it's in the lineup or systematically.


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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 7:17 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins checks in from NHL Combine

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com this season that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. I'm here at the NHL Scouting Combine at the Westin in Toronto. I arrived to the hotel on Monday and, on Monday night, me and my dad went to the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Cleveland Indians. My dad's a big Blue Jays fan so he was happy they came out on top.


It was my first time going to a Major League Baseball game so that was pretty cool. On Tuesday, I kind of hung around the hotel and met some of the guys I know around the (Western Hockey League) and went out to dinner with them … I ordered a Oscar sirloin. It was pretty good.

My first interview on Wednesday was with the Edmonton Oilers. It went really well and I got a good feeling from them. I'm starting to feel more comfortable around them now because I've had a couple of interviews with them so it's been going pretty well. I'm looking forward to draft day.

The media requests and interviews have gotten easier for me. The biggest thing is, I feel more comfortable with all of it, but I think it's still really cool and this was the first time I got to see a lot of these teams here so it was definitely a great opportunity to meet new people.

People have been asking me who I'm rooting for in the Stanley Cup Final. I never really was a Canucks fan, but I think it's great how well they're doing now. It's looking really good for them right now.

I know there's been a lot of talk about my weight and if I have the strength to play in the NHL next year, but I really feel I took some strides this year. I feel like I could play in the NHL next year. I know I need to bulk up a little bit, but if I put on five to 10 pounds, I'll be ready to play.

I'm a little anxious about the fitness testing (on Friday). The bike tests are pretty tough but everyone has to do them so I'm just going to work as hard as I can on it and just get through it. I'll be leaving for Red Deer right after the testing.

If I don't get drafted first overall, I don't know if it'll be disappointing really. But I'd love to go first. If I didn't, I'd be happy to be drafted wherever it is.
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 6:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Canucks 'relieved' not to lose Burrows

Canucks forward Alex Burrows has come under some fire for his biting incident with Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period Wednesday night. However, his teammates don't believe any of the negative publicity will have an effect on the way he prepares and eventually plays in Game 2.

They say Burrows has matured too much to be bothered by such crazy things.

"I think he's starting to realize how good he is," Daniel Sedin said. "He doesn't need to do those kinds of things. He's too good of a player to do that. I haven't seen yesterday's incident, but that's not him anymore."

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault went as far as saying that Burrows was not undisciplined in Game 1 and that he played a solid game save for a holding penalty he took in the offensive zone 10:18 into the first period. Burrows was whistled for four minor penalties, including the double he got for roughing with Bergeron at the end of the first.

Burrows, who said Bergeron's finger went into his mouth but he did not bite down, was not given the opportunity to stick up for himself on Thursday as he wasn't made available to the media at the University of British Columbia. It was up to his teammates to do the talking, and, to a certain extent, defend him.

Their comments leaned heavily in favor of what Burrows brings to the team, and specifically to the top line. None of them seemed to understand why there was so much fuss over the alleged bite, and most said they didn't even see it.

"He'd be good on any line, but with us he's a great forechecker, reads the play really well and he's a smart player," Daniel Sedin said. "He doesn't do anything extremely well, but he does a lot of things well."

Daniel added that the Canucks were relieved to learn that NHL Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy chose not to suspend Burrows over the biting incident.

"We need him out there," he said. "He plays in every situation. Big part of this team. Obviously we're happy to have him inside the rink."

Even Bergeron, the alleged victim, was ready to move on from the incident.

"I'm over it," Bergeron said. "I'm looking forward to the next game. I don't want to whine about that stuff. I don't care."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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