Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lack of weird questions puzzles prospects

Draft hopefuls came expecting off-the-wall queries from scouts

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TORONTO -- While NHL teams are busy poking and prodding the prospects before the entry draft, they often go beyond asking players for their names and addresses during interviews over scouting combine week.

"Twenty-two meetings and not a single weird question," Alex Galchenyuk, a first-round-rated forward born in Milwaukee, said Thursday.

Fellow first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko, a likely top-three pick, didn't get off so lucky.

"They ask me about the KHL, about me," Grigorenko answered. "They weren't tough questions. I was ready for these questions.

"It was fun, but sometimes it's weird. One team checked my foot. I had an injury, so they asked me to take off my shoe and some doctor checked me and said it was fine."

And then not the least bit interested in protecting that team's confidentiality, he blurted: "It was Anaheim."

-- -- --

While the Jets were among the busy teams here this week, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Thursday he hasn't just put aside regular business because the draft combine is in full swing.

For instance, unrestricted free agent centre Jim Slater's agent Mike Liut was seen in the combine hotel on Thursday.

Cheveldayoff declined to be specific about any of his free-agent regulars (also Tanner Glass, Kyle Wellwood, Tim Stapleton or Chris Mason) but said his talks with agents are ongoing.

Cheveldayoff also said he'd hope to have one or more of his desired returnees, without naming them, signed before they hit the open market on July 1.

"You'd always like to have things done tomorrow or the next day," Cheveldayoff said. "But you just don't know how fast it will happen."

The Jets also have key restricted free agents Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec to be signed over the summer.

-- -- --

The top-ranked goalie in the upcoming draft is a familiar name.

Malcolm Subban of the OHL's Belleville Bulls is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens' defenceman P.K. Subban.

And while P.K. is camera, microphone and notebook friendly, Malcolm is decidedly more straight-laced.

But maybe just as honest.

Asked who got the better of the games while the three Subban brothers (including Jordan) would play when they were younger, Malcolm volunteered this.

"P.K.'s a big cheater," he said. "Him and Jordan would be the ones fighting and (I would) be in the back laughing."

Malcolm said he had plenty of questions about his family during interviews here this week.

"The questions, they're not that hard, to be honest," he said.

"Just be truthful, honest. There's nothing to hide. I didn't have any strange, weird questions. I heard a lot, that you might get them.

"I guess the funniest is that they asked who is the (biggest) character out of the brothers and it's pretty safe to say that it's P.K. He gets the most attention."

-- -- --

After four days of interviews with the NHL's top 105 prospects since Monday, the scouting combine turns to fitness testing today.

The players will be asked to do their best in seven different tests, including the gruelling bike test to complete the circuit.

"I've heard some horror stories about it, yeah, but I'm going to go into it with an open mind and hopefully I don't puke," said the draft's top-rated defenceman, Ryan Murray of the WHL's Everett Silvertips.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2012 C4

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