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.”
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: