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Nugent-Hopkins looks forward to NHL Combine

by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
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 that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Well, it's NHL Combine time. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's going to be a lot of fun. I know I'm really looking forward to talking with some teams and being able to meet some of the top prospects from around the world, so it's definitely going to be a fun experience. I think I'll be getting there on Tuesday (May 31). Before that, I'll be attending the CHL Award ceremony in Mississauga (at the Living Arts Centre on May 28).

The fact that nothing will be done on the ice is an interesting concept because it gives the general managers and scouts an opportunity to look at us off the ice and what we're like as people instead of just hockey players. So it's a whole different aspect.

I've been in the gym pretty much every day and I've been doing most of the Combine exercises. I'm trying to get as prepared for it as possible and have just been working as hard as I can. (The NHL Scouting Combine will be held May 30 to June 4 in Toronto).

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. 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.

As far as the season goes, it was disappointing to lose to Medicine Hat in the playoffs (4-games-to-1). All year they kind of had our number for some reason, but I thought we worked as hard as we could but things just didn't seem to go our way. The first round we played great (in a four-game sweep of Edmoton) and we had a couple of solid games against Medicine Hat, but couldn't get it done.

I think with the way the (WHL champion) Kootaney Ice have been playing in the playoffs, I think they have a very good shot at winning the Memorial Cup.
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