Edina Senior Zach Budish is taking part in the NHL scouting combine this week in Toronto. He is the 22nd ranked North American Skater according to the Central Scouting bureau and is projected as a first or second round pick in this years NHL draft.
Budish is blogging for KARE11.com this week from the combine.
Friday, May 29, 2009 (7:30pm ET)
I thought today went well. I had to get up at 7:45am for the medical examinations at 8:30am. There were six or seven stations in there. They check your body, check your breathing and make sure that there aren't any injuries that you are hiding from them. One of the tests was kind of neat; they have a monitor on your heart and put it up on a screen and look at for 20 minutes. I had no idea what they were seeing, but I know in the past they have found things wrong with guy's hearts that way, so that was kind of cool. They have you do an eye test as well and they had a doctor look at my knee, of course, for a while because I told them about it. He said everything looked good and that I would be fine to do the tests as well. In one of the rooms, they have you take off your shirt and take both front and side pictures of you. They also have you lift up your shorts to take a picture of your thighs; it was similar to a meat market I guess.
After that we went up to the physical testing room. There was an earlier group still working out in there so we could hear the workouts still going on. Basically you walk in and register, and then they take your height, weight and body fat. The room itself had all the scouts and doctors in the center and the testing was done around the perimeter. There were probably 50-60 guys in there with notebooks watching you the whole time. After they took my height, weight and body fat, I did the sit-up test and I didn't do so well.
After that, I did the push-up test that they time with a clicker that clicks a little less than every second and you have to keep up; I thought I did pretty well on that based on my size. Then you do the bench press at 150 pounds as many times as you can, followed by the 30 second bike test. That test you go as hard as you can for 30 seconds and they keep adding weight throughout. They duct tape you're feet into the bike too, which was kind of weird. During that test, there are three or four guys screaming in your ear "get going" and "lets go, you can do It." The good thing about the test is that it's only 30 seconds, but it's a long 30 seconds. I've been doing bike tests all along in training, but when you're there in front of scouts and cameras, it really is a LONG 30 seconds.
Overall, the whole combine was a great experience. I was pretty nervous going into it, but the interviews really weren't that bad. The physical testing, it sounds intimidating with all the scouts and it's definitely nerve-racking at first, but basically its just a workout.
Some teams like me more than others, I could tell. Some teams take a different approach and kind of test you a little bit and try to get under your skin a little. I thought the week went well overall and it was a lot less stressful than anticipated.
Thursday, May 28, 2009 (8:30 pm ET)
Well, we are done for the day and I am kind of relieved. I woke up at 7:30am and we got started at 8:45am. I met with 18 teams today, Nick Leddy met with 18 or 19 teams today, Josh Birkholtz met with 16 teams, Jared Hanowski (my roommate) met with 12 teams.
A lot of the questions were repetitive and by the end of the day you could tell the scouts were asking the same things. My last interview with Florida, they kind of had me run the interview. They had me give them a background about me growing up and my family. All 24 teams that I have talked to have asked me about my knee right away. That kind of got annoying and repetitive, but I think the testing will take care of that.
Walking around you see all the other guys going through the same kind of stuff. The guys going to college are only allowed to be here for 48 hours, so all those guys have two full days of interviews. I've seen mostly the guys from Minnesota, but also a lot of guys that have played in Juniors and in Canada.
It's going to be an early night tonight, because we have to be up early to test tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll be in groups of eight to do the physical testing and I think we might take another psychological test as well. Then we'll fly out tomorrow and be home tomorrow night.
Tomorrow there I will do the bench press, curl ups and push ups, two biking tests, the vertical jump and the standing long jump, test my grip strength, plus more. I think there is a total of ten tests. They will also check my height and weight and test my body fat. Supposedly, during the test there will be doctors and scouts yelling at you to push you. It should be fun to have an intense workout with people watching. I am kind of nervous for it, but at the same time I would like to get it done with and hopefully do well and kind of prove that my knee is fine.
Before I left my trainer, Kevin Zeigler , told me what the averages were from last year's combine along with the highest and the lowest numbers from each test. They also sent us an email a few weeks ago giving us the results from the 2004-2005 combine; it showed the lowest and the highest of each test as well, so I know what numbers I want to get in my mind. It will definitely be a big physical day for everyone, especially for me and some other guys who are kind o f on the bubble of different areas were we might get drafted.
I am going to go grab some dinner now with Josh Birkholtz and Seth Helgeson, I'll check back in one final time Friday.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 (7:45pm ET)
There were seven Minnesota guys, two from Shattuck, on my flight today. We all flew in together. I got in about 2pm and got to the hotel around 3pm. Once there we received our schedule for the next few days and got our workout clothes for Friday's workout.
Some guys have five interviews set up, some have 25. I have 24 for today and tomorrow and got six done today. I met with Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Toronto, Columbus and Minnesota. Now I am just hanging out in my hotel room.
I don't really mind the interviews. It's pretty nerve-racking because usually it's a one-on-one interview but all these are at least five guys. The Columbus one had 10-12 guys in there. They kind of fire questions from different angles. You usually know one of the guys in there because they are the local Minnesota scout but the other five or six guys you've never met so they ask you to describe yourself and they have never met you, so you have to give a good impression. It's not that bad actually; they are only 20 minutes, so it's a lot shorter than normal.
As I was on my way to my first interview, I rode the elevator with John Tavares, but we didn't really talk.
Everywhere you go, every elevator you take, every time you walk down the hallway, you walk past another guy who is like me: an 18-year old who is going to get drafted. Or you see a guy in a suit that was doing the interviews. I met a guy from Massachusetts, met Erik Haula from Finland, Alexander Fallstrom from Shattuck, and some other new guys. It's fun to see the guys that you play with over the summer but don't see, but it's pretty much been walk from one room to the next.
Tomorrow, my day is done at 5:15pm (ET). I'll have more then.
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