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Bike tests drain Combine prospects

Friday, 06.03.2011 / 7:03 PM

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

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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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