TORONTO CANADA - JANUARY 19: Sean Couturier #7 of Team Cherry fires a backhand shot on Liam Liston #33 of Team Orr in the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Prospects game on January 19 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
I've just returned from the first of three days at the Draft Combine- with today being the Media day where reporters are able to talk to some of the top prospects. Of course, I had all sorts of problems- I got stuck in traffic and I wasn't there for the first 10 minutes, meaning I missed out on Gabriel Landeskog. I also got tons of good video. However, they didn't come out all too great, but I uploaded them to youtube just for proof. However, I will give some of my impressions on how some of the players handled the media. Most of my questions are more or less vague paraphrases of my questions.
Adam Larsson: The first prospect I got to see at the media day was the big Swedish Defenseman from Skelleftea. Of course there were a lot of questions, and quite a few about the Devils. I believe one reporter asked him about his relationship with two Swedes on the Devils roster- Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson. I managed to ask him a question about Alex Urbom, however it came off abit awkward for both of us as I guess he was abit surprised someone asked about Urbom, and for me seeing as it was my first question I asked. For someone who doesn't speak english as a first language, Larsson did a good job during his scrum. He didn't seem to have a lot of trouble speaking english and answering all the questions.
Sean Couturier: The second prospect I got to see was Sean Couturier. At first I thought he was Dougie Hamilton, as I didn't see a name tag on him, which surprised me when I heard him answering a question in French. I was able to ask him a few questions- one about QMJHL colleague Jonathan Huberdeau and another about his ranking in the ISS dropping. Of all the players I got to interview, Couturier was possibly my favourite one. He seemed the nicest of all of them, although in all fairness a lot of the guys were very cool. I really hope the Devils draft Couturier.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: After Couturier came the top ranked ISS skater and potential first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Of course, he did generate the biggest scrum of them all. The most frequent questions RNH fielded were about his weight- the one area many scouts are concerned with. He did a great job fielding all the questions. Another thing i'd like to mention is that he's quite a humble fellow- I asked him what he thought about some people comparing him to Gretzky and his reply: "I don't think i've heard that many people mention that, but even then, I'm honored to be mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky". He's got a lot of skill, but he did a great job with the media today. When he comes to the NHL, he's going to have no problems
Dougie Hamilton: Next up was the mini-hulk from the Ice Dogs, Dougie Hamilton. He was quite good in the interviews. I was only able to get one question in with him, and it was about his high grades and what GMs would think of it. His response mainly centered around having a fall-back plan if hockey didn't exactly work out. I did get to ask Hamilton another question after official question time was over, which was quite funny. I asked him if he'd do the dougie as a goal celebration, seeing as his name is Dougie. He said he probably wasn't going to have a crazy goal celebration.
Jonathan Huberdeau: The last prospect was the Memorial Cup MVP Jonathan Huberdeau. The scrum was quite big, and I wasn't really able to get to see or hear much about Huberdeau. His question time ended pretty quickly, so I wasn't really able to get much of an impression of him- well, except that he had a pretty rockin' stache.
I'm going to be at the draft combine tomorrow and on Saturday, so expect some more updates and reflections then.