Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NHL Combine

The 2008 NHL Draft Combine got started on Monday in Toronto. The combine takes some of the top prospects for this year's NHL Draft and puts them through a battery of tests. Here's a little breakdown of some of what they do at the NHL Combine.

As if people using calipers to measure someone's suprailiac fat fold wasn't creepy enough, all players are required to wear matching shorts and Under Armor shirts; a rule instituted after an overweight Rob Schremp tried fooling scouts by wearing one of those t-shirts with painted on muscles.

The combine starts by measuring a player's body composition. It starts simple enough with a basic height and weight measurement, before moving on to the aforementioned skinfold fat measurements to determine body fat percentage.

The next set of tests measure strength, power, and muscular endurance. The first test of grip strength. Players must grip a hand grip dynamometer with each hand. Players who squeeze tight enough win a stuffed animal. Then players measure their push and pull strength. The machine used for this is something called a Strength Metre. NHL Central Scouting makes it clear to point out this for this test: "It is important that a maximal effort be exerted during each action without jerking." Emphasis there's. Incidentall, it's okay to half-ass the next three tests, which are bench press and sit-ups, and push-ups. The final two strength tests are standing long jump and vertical jump to measure leg strength.

The only flexibility test performed is the standard sit-and-reach test, a test that has cost many prospects their shot at a Presidential Fitness Award.

Next up is the anaerobic and aerobic portions of the fitness testing featuring the dreaded Wingate Cycle Ergometer. Whenever you hear a story of a prospect puking into a bucket, and there's always at least one per year, it's usually the result of this machine. This is basically an exercise bike hooked up to a machine that counts how many revolutions the wheels do. Players pedal until the aforementioned vomiting occurs.

Finally, all players give a full medical history and take a full physical. Because if a team drafted a player without knowing he once had acne, they would be totally screwed. They basically ask everything from "Have you ever had surgery" to "Have you ever had any unexplained weight change"("No, I'm pretty sure it was from the Doritos.")

Players also go through a psychological evaluation to measure how they might respond to certain situations.

After all of that, teams can request to interview individual players. It's a pretty long week for the players. I don't think I've ever heard of a player making a huge move up draft boards solely because of a good combine, but there are definitely cases of teams downgrading or backing away from a player based on these tests, and especially based on interviews.


Mike Watson said...

That was a great read. Thank you. I laughed a lot and it was fun to learn about the combine. Keep up the great work. I check for comments and updates everyday.

Anonymous said...

Mike, Is "Watts" skipping the OHL and going straight to the NHL? Good luck to your son, he's a great kid.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say that Ian Cole moved up dramatically last year because of his combine. The Blues noticed the frame on his body and how well put together he was. They got a first-hand look at the tree trunks he has for legs.

Mike Watson said...

Anonymous 4:56
Thanks, but no, I think he is shooting for the PGA instead. lol

See Below:
Richard, Dutchmen advance to states
Saturday, May 31, 2008
From Local Reports

JACKSON - For the first time since 2004, the Gabriel Richard High School boys golf team is heading to a state meet.

The Fighting Irish were second at a Division 3 regional at Cascades Golf Course, and the top three qualify.

Jackson Lumen Christi (319), Richard (333) and Napoleon (341) were the qualifiers, and Austin Watson led the Irish by placing third with a 5-over-par 77. Alex Edwards shot an 82.

About six holes into the round, the wind started gusting to more than 25 mph and the temperatures dropped.

"We thought it'd be a little closer than that,'' Richard coach Tom Allen said. "These guys are able to hit those low, laser shots, and it served them well.

"We're pretty excited to be going to states.''


Division 4 - At Bald Mountain near Lake Orion, the qualifiers were Plymouth Christian (312), Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (314) and Manchester (314). Justin Welton shot 75 and Ralph Ford 77 for Manchester. Welton was sixth.