So last week the Senators premiered the first in a series of four webisodes called Senate Reform that details the organization's behind-the-scenes work and preparation for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In keeping with last week's recap and review of the first episode, here's The 6th Sens' review of Episode 2.
Some instrumental percussion accompanies Gord Wilson’s narration to open the second episode of Senate Reform. Video cuts from a scene of the CN Tower to footage of Pierre Dorion and amateur scout Greg Royce walking outdoors. Pierre has ditched the red golf shirt for a black one in this episode. Like Bryan Murray last week, the shirt obviously denotes rank and by the look on Dorion’s face and the size of the binder that he’s carrying, the man means business.
We are shown footage of a round-table discussion featuring the Senators hockey ops people. Present at the meeting are Dorion, Royce, Vaclav Burda, my favorite personality from last week - Bob Lowes, Bob Janecyk (I believe?) and some curly-haired prospect who we can only see from the back.
There’s more behind-the-back footage of an unnamed black prospect. As Twitter follower @matt_s_10 pointed out, it could have been Jonathan Racine or Christopher Gibson.
Top prospect Dougie Hamilton comes in to meet the staff and after sitting down, Dorion immediately asks him what his strengths and weaknesses are as a player.
“I think for me as a strength, I don’t think I have any weaknesses. I think I’m a big, complete defenceman. A good skater. I think I’m smart and skilled. I’m pretty much a complete defenceman. I think the main thing that I have to work on is my strength and just get bigger and fill out my body.”
Dorion breaks from character at the table, looks at the camera and then back to Hamilton before asking, “When do you think you’ll be ready to play in the NHL?”
“I think whenever the team wants me. Basically, it’s up to the team.”
Dorion talks to the Sens TV camera crew one-on-one about the principle of these combine meetings – to meet as many kids as they can. Prospects who may be on their radar and get to know them as people, find out more about their character and determine what will make them good hockey players down the road.
David, the son of former Senators defenceman Frank Musil, is interviewed by the brain trust and is thrown some softball questions that makes for compelling television – “Where are you from?” and “We know what your dad does for a living, what does he do?”
Footage of Ty Rattie’s interview is shown and Bob Lowes asks him, “What would a teammate say about you?”
“I think they’d say that I’m a good guy to be around. I think they’d say I’ve quietly turned into a bit of a leader and I hope that I can be a leader next year. But first and foremost, I hope they’d say that I’m a good guy to be around.”
And who would you compare yourself in the NHL to?
“Actually, I love Jason Spezza. I think he’s got that hunched over skating style. I kind of hunch over my skates too. I love how elusive he is with the puck and everything that he does with the puck so I like to watch him a lot.”
Dorion tells Rattie that the next time he sees Jason, he’ll tell him that someone mentioned his name. Out of all of the prospects that I’ve seen thus far, Rattie is by far the most articulate and judging by his responses (in particular the verbal fellatio of Jason Spezza’s game), the most rehearsed. Fittingly, Greg Royce tells the camera that, “the majority of the prospects have been taught; have been prepared for the questions.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the next to enter the room for questioning. (The fuck? This is like some Hfboards user’s wet dream.) In a twist of irony, Dorion mentions that he “won’t take up too much of his time because he knows he won’t be available at six,” so naturally, they spend the bulk of the interview talking about EA Sports’ NHL videogame series.
Jonathan Huberdeau is the next prospect to grace the episode. Aside from his amber alert mustache, he comes off as a pretty likeable guy who oozes personality. Eventually the conversation comes back to videogames and Huberdeau nails it by deadpanning, “I played more last year. This year, I’m more mature.”
Mark McNeill’s interview is the next one to be featured and the staff is disappointed with his canned answers. He’s asked for a second interview over breakfast because the staff felt that his answers were too robotic.
Footage of the physical aspect of the NHL combine is shown before the episode concludes with Dorion stating, “Some people get tied up too much in all these proceedings. It’s what’s on the ice that matters most – what you do on the ice; what we think you’re going to be on the ice – that’s the biggest component in us rating a player. If they don’t compete or if they don’t have that drive as a person and they don’t show it on the ice then most likely, they won’t succeed in the NHL.”
Aside from Huberdeau standing out from the rest of the bland interviews and the organization interviewing McNeill for a second time, one of the other noticeable parts to this week’s episode was that the Sens TV production crew blurred out the scouts’ notepads throughout the episode. I have to wonder if anyone was reamed out for last week’s inexcusable oversight that published Ottawa’s WHL prospect rankings.
When the highlight of the episode is that TSN correspondent Matt Nichol wasn’t shown during the physical aspect of the combine footage, it’s probably a bad sign. Without Tim Murray’s presence and less Bob Lowes participation, there was less “throwing shit at a wall to see if it sticks”. In my humble opinion, it was a step down from last week’s initial episode.