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Combine Blog: Day 1

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh-area NHL prospect J.T. Miller will be providing with a daily blog of his experience from the 2011 NHL Combine in Toronto, Ontario, which goes from May 30 to June 4. Miller, who grew up in East Palestine, Ohio (just across the border from Beaver County, Pa.) and Coraopolis, Pa., is a highly-ranked prospect according to NHL Central Scouting and the Red Line Report, an independent scouting service.

Miller, who just finished his second season with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., is ranked No. 10 overall (among both skaters and goalies) on the Red Line Report and No. 23 on Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters.
For more information on Miller, click here.


10:09 PM:
It's time for me for me to go to to bed, I'm exhausted. I've got another long day filled with interviews on Wednesday, including one with the Pens. I'll keep everyone posted on how that goes. Thanks for tuning in!

8:56 PM:
I've been with John all day, but not any of the other Pittsburgh-area prospects. It's nice to have such a good friend in the same position as you. (Note: click here for a story on Miller, Gibson and Barrett Kaib's friendship).

In fact, we're hanging out as we speak. Here he is, mooching off my room's wireless connection (and maybe flexing just a bit for the camera):

7:38 PM:
I just got done with all of my interviews for the day. My plans for the rest of the night consist of two things: eating and sleeping. I'm doing room service again for dinner before I call it a night. It's been a very tiring day so far.

5:42 PM:
So far all of the interviews I've been to today have been interesting, there hasn't been one that has stood out more than the others. I'm a pretty comfortable guy, I hardly ever feel nervous so there haven't been any especially offbeat or disarming questions yet.

I go until 7:40 p.m. and then I'm done for the day. So far, my voice is still intact – I'm just really, really tired.

4:20 PM:
I've now completed seven of my 11 interviews on today's schedule. I'm about to talk to Washington now. Here's who is on my list:

12:33 PM:
My roommate and USNTDP teammate Rocco Grimaldi, laying around before our next round of interviews:

12:18 PM:
Time for a lunch break. My roommate Rocco and I just ordered room service. I've had four meetings with teams and they've all gone well so far. I feel great – only seven more meetings to go! Haha.

10:26 AM:
John Gibson, Brandon Saad, Vince Trocheck and I all flew into Toronto together Monday night. Our plane was small, only about 50 seats. I think they just put us together since we were all coming in at the same exact time.

Our flight was actually delayed by about an hour and a half, so we didn't get into Toronto until about 9, 9:15 p.m. last night. Then the four of us went to the hotel and got all of our stuff – our overall schedules and our schedules for our interview meetings, too. My roommate, I found out, is Rocco Grimaldi, and Gibson is actually with Tyler Biggs [both USNTDP teammates of Miller and Gibson], so they ended up putting us Program guys together.

My first meeting was with Calgary this morning. I have to do 10 more interviews today, so I’m not done until 7 o’clock tonight.

I’m not nervous about the interviews; I’m comfortable with them. I think it’s pretty much a lot of the same stuff. You have to be honest with the teams and be consistent throughout my meetings and just take it one by one. I have a long list of interviews coming up, including Atlanta and Chicago.

I’ve been to Toronto before for hockey several times when I was playing growing up, but I had never flown into Toronto before last night because it’s only about five hours away from my hometown. We’re not allowed to leave the hotel grounds, so I think we’re just doing interviews (with the NHL teams) for the next three days and then Friday we start the fitness testing.

I think the entire week is going to be pretty exciting. I don’t think any one interview will be more important than any of the others at this point. I think they’re all going to be pretty much the same. And of all the best NHL prospects in the world gathering here this week, I think the best prospects were the ones on the plane with me Monday.
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