Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Starting with the third pick things become a little more interesting, with a dozen or so names floating around....kids that are destined to be the NHL starts of tomorrow - like Swiss born Nino and Jack the Goalie.
Then, there's Brett Connolly. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked third. TSN has him projected 8th. Any other mock draft you see will probably have him ranked somewhere in between.
His story reads like that of a a kid near the top of the board... a first round pick of the Prince George Cougars (10th overall) back at the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, the CHL Rookie of the Year in 2008–09 (while scoring 30 goals as a 16-year-old) and he's been a member of the highly regarded Team Canada under-18 team.
So, what's the issue? Perhaps it's this... Connolly is a self-confessed former Mighty Ducks fan - “I was a huge Ducks fan when I was young, that was my first NHL jersey”.
Well, it's either that or some recent health issues. TSN's Bob MacKenzie says fear not though, reporting that "his agent maintain(s) those problems are all behind him" and Mac adds that Team Canada "remains bullish" on the 6'2" right wing, thinking his "lack of conditioning and game shape hurt him more than anything else." Something that will surely be addressed this summer.
In what has been one of the busiest weeks of his life, Connolly was kind enough to connect with The Mayor earlier today to talk a little stick and puck leading up to the draft. Like a two two minute penalty, this one will be over before you know it...
First off, who got you started in hockey?
My dad brought me out to the local rink when I was about 3 or 4 and got me skating.
Besides the injury this season, what one other thing will you be glad to stop talking about once the draft is over?
Well, it will be nice for me to have one team and not a bunch of teams. I can focus on the team that drafts me and them only.
With all the crazy questions thrown at you from various teams at the combine, which team was the most intimidating to interview with?
You're projected to go early in the first round of the draft. However, knowing anything can happen, what are your expectations for Friday night?
I'm expecting to get drafted by an NHL team that believes in my abilities and I'm expecting to be chosen somewhere in the top 10.
What one thing do most coaches or scouts tell you that you still need to work on?
I need to work on my defensive game in order to be the complete player that I want to be.
In all your travels to hockey tournaments, what was the worst food item you ever had to eat?
In Slovakia they served us liverball soup and that was brutal.
It's been reported that growing up the Ducks were your favorite team and now it's the Penguins. What drew you to the Ducks in the first place and why switch?
When I was real young I loved watching D3 and that's why I liked the Ducks. As I grew older, I liked the talent that the Penguins had and enjoyed watching them more.
The Kings have selected two defensemen from the WHL in recent years, Thomas Hickey (Seattle Thunderbirds) and Colten Teubert (Regina Pats). What's it like to play against those guys?
Who is the hardest hitter you've ever faced?
Lance Buoma (3rd round pick by Calgary at the 2008 draft, plays for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL)
Who is the best goalie you've ever faced?
Dustin Tokarski (5th round selection by Tampa Bay at the 2008 draft, played for Spokane Chiefs in the WHL)
Jarome Iginla or Shane Doan?
Chris Pronger or Scott Niedermayer?
Metallica, Jay-Z or Dave Matthews?
Outside of hockey related activities, what one thing takes up the most of your time on a daily basis?
What's your least favorite sport and why?
Tennis. It's way too boring.
The draft is in LA, which is a town full of celebrities...which celebrity have people said you look like?
When you make your pro debut, what number do you hope to be wearing? And what's the significance of that number?
#8 - it's been the number I've worn most of my life
If somebody was to write a book about your life up to this point in time, what would the title be?
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Brett Connolly has the skill and desire necessary to bounce back from this season and he's working hard to silence critics who doubted him.
The team selecting him will be lucky to add a player that HockeysFuture.com says is a "top flight talent...who can make plays at a high rate of speed...(and) can score goals as well as set them up."
Besides, if this whole hockey thing doesn't work out, maybe he could be a stunt double for Justin Timberlake's next movie project.
Other Draft 2010 links of interest on MayorsManor:
Interview with Brandon Underwood
Interview with Charlie Coyle
Interview with Taylor Aronson
Interview with Ivan Telegin
Interview with Brandon Archibald
Interview with Luke Moffatt