NEW YORK — Sam Bennett could’ve lied and said it didn’t bug him. He could’ve just played it cool. But the talented 17-year-old forward who’s expected to be among the top picks at this summer’s NHL Entry Draft had to be truthful after his failure to do a single pull-up at the scouting combine made headlines across the hockey world.
“To be honest, it really did bother me,” Bennett told a handful of reporters at a New York hotel Monday. “Because I know I can do them now. I’m going to keep working on it. By the end of the summer, I want to rip off as many as I can, and just prove people wrong.”
Bennett said he’s been working on pull-ups since the combine, and “can already do at least two.”
However, it wasn’t hard to tell the whole experience has been embarrassing for the Kingston Frontenacs star.
“I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal (after the combine), until the next couple of days when it went crazy,” he said.
As the story blew up, Bennett received words of encouragement from a number of people, including Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators.
“I don’t even really know him at all; he trains at my gym,” said Bennett. “He was just, ‘I gotta call this kid, because I feel so bad for him.’ He just talked about how he’s been through a lot of criticism. You’ve got to find a way to deal with it, because it’s going to be there your whole hockey career.”
Bennett doesn’t expect his performance at the combine to affect his draft status.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter about pull-ups,” he said. “It’s your performance on the ice.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.