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Inside the Combine with Louis Leblanc

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Old
06-01-2009, 10:41 PM
  #1
Mag1328
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Inside the Combine with Louis Leblanc

For some reason, this feature I wrote in Sunday's edition of La Presse wasn't transferred on the Web. I would have preferred to just a post a link, but since there isn't any, here's the whole thing.
It's quite long - and in French - but I know some of you guys might like that kind of stuff.

----

Louis Leblanc dans les coulisses du Combine

Marc Antoine Godin

Toronto - Les 104 meilleurs espoirs en vue du repêchage de la LNH avaient rendez-vous cette semaine dans un hôtel près de l'aéroport Pearson de Toronto. C'est le NHL Combine, la dernière étape avant le repêchage qui permet aux équipes de préparer leurs listes finales. Louis Leblanc, l'attaquant québécois le mieux coté cette année, nous emmène dans les coulisses de l'événement.

Leblanc, joueur de centre de 18 ans, est étiqueté choix de première ronde. Il a joué la saison dernière à Omaha, dans la USHL, aux côtés de Danny Kristo, le choix de deuxième ronde du Canadien en 2008.

Étant donné qu'il jouera l'an prochain à l'Université Harvard, Leblanc est considéré comme un joueur des collèges américains. Et en vertu des règlements qui touchent les espoirs de la NCAA, Leblanc ne peut rester au Combine plus de 48 heures.

"Il y a des gars du junior majeur qui sont ici depuis lundi, souligne Leblanc. Moi, je dois rencontrer neuf équipes mercredi et 19 autres jeudi!"

Comme si l'horaire n'était pas assez chargé, Leblanc doit trouver une façon d'y insérer un test de personnalité d'une heure que fait passer le Wild du Minnesota.

Réglé au quart de tour

Leblanc s'embarque dans un processus qui a des airs de "speed dating". Vingt-huit équipes veulent lui parler et il devra toutes les rencontrer en un plus de 24 heures. Mais le fait d'inviter un joueur en entrevue n'est pas toujours une mesure de l'intérêt d'une équipe. La preuve, c'est que seulement 13 équipes interviewent John Tavares, la coqueluche de cette année.

Les deux premiers entretiens permettent à Leblanc d'évacuer sa nervosité. "Les mêmes questions reviennent souvent, réalise-t-il. Les équipes me demandent de parler de ma famille, de mes principales qualités sur la patinoire et des choses que j'ai à améliorer..."

Tous les joueurs ont reçu une feuille où leurs rendez-vous ont été inscrits à la minute près. Pendant toute la journée, vêtus de complets-veston, ils viennent et vont dans l'hôtel.

"Les équipes ont droit à 20 minutes avec chaque joueur, explique Leblanc. Tu dois cogner à la porte à la minute précise où tu as rendez-vous. L'hôtel est plein à craquer et il n'y a que trois ascenseurs. On a toujours peur d'être en retard!

"Selon les équipes, entre quatre et 15 personnes te reçoivent. Les questions peuvent venir de n'importe qui. À peu près la moitié des directeurs généraux assistent aux entrevues, mais souvent, ils ne disent rien."

"Pourquoi vas-tu à Harvard?"

La décision de Leblanc d'aller à Harvard suscite la curiosité.

"Les équipes veulent savoir pourquoi j'ai choisi Harvard au lieu d'une école où le programme de hockey est plus réputé, soutient Leblanc. Mais si je vais dans un endroit où les études ne sont pas autant privilégiées, je vais jouer au hockey et le reste du temps, quoi, je vais faire la fête?

Alors je réponds en demandant aux équipes ce qui est le mieux: étudier ou faire la fête?"

Mais les Islanders de New York se montrent rébarbatifs. "Ils ne comprennent pas, ils me disent que je vais jouer dans une division où les joueurs sont moins forts."

Le CH pour finir

De temps en temps, des questions étonnantes se mêlent aux plus convenues.

"Les gens de l'Avalanche du Colorado m'ont demandé quelle était la chanson la plus embarrassante que j'avais dans mon iPod. Et une autre formation m'a demandé avec quelle personnalité j'aimerais le plus aller souper. J'ai répondu Barack Obama. J'aimerais qu'il m'explique comment il arrive à être un leader pour 300 millions de personnes."

Ironie du sort, c'est avec le Tricolore - l'équipe pour laquelle il rêve de jouer - que Leblanc termine sa ronde d'entrevues.

"Je savais que le Canadien était en dernier et ça m'a donné un boost."

Mais, en fin d'après-midi jeudi, Leblanc a les jambes molles. Il n'a pas arrêté de la journée. "Je dois manger, avoue-t-il. J'avais juste des barres tendres dans les poches et j'ai mangé quelques muffins que m'ont offerts certaines équipes.

"Et puis, je dois me lever de bonne heure, demain. Je m'attends à vivre les heures les plus difficiles de ma vie."

Comme dans un aquarium

Le hasard a voulu que Leblanc soit le tout premier à prendre part aux évaluations physiques, le point culminant du Combine.

Dès 7h30, vendredi matin, des médecins l'examinent. Une heure plus tard, il se présente dans la salle de bal de l'hôtel, qui a été transformée en grand gymnase. D'autres joueurs promis à la NCAA l'accompagnent. Arborant un chandail identique, ils ne sont différenciés que par un numéro.

Douze exercices sont supervisés par des appariteurs de l'Université York: mesure du taux de graisse, poids et haltères, redressements assis, etc. Leblanc passe d'une station à l'autre sous les yeux des recruteurs, des thérapeutes et de certains DG.

"Danny Kristo m'avait prévenu que, sous le regard de tous les recruteurs et des médias, je serais comme dans un aquarium. Il m'a dit de faire ce que j'avais à faire et de ne pas me laisser influencer par les résultats des autres."

Saut vertical, saut en hauteur, test d'agilité: la première portion se déroule comme un charme.
Mais Leblanc sait qu'il lui faudra enfourcher le légendaire Wingate, sur lequel Fredrik Sjostrom s'était évanoui en 2001.

Le vélo, c'est la mort

Leblanc grimpe sur le vélo Wingate, qui sert à mesurer la forme anaérobique. Pendant 30 secondes d'effort extrême, Leblanc doit pédaler malgré une résistance de près de 20 livres.

"Trente secondes qui m'ont paru une heure", avouera Leblanc.

Après avoir enrubanné ses pieds aux pédales, trois appariteurs l'encouragent bruyamment. Leurs cris jettent un silence étonné dans la salle où la journée n'a pas encore pris son rythme.

"Tu te sens mal après ça, comme tout déséquilibré. J'ai eu des hauts le coeur. C'était la mort!"

Leblanc bénéficie d'une vingtaine de minutes pour retrouver ses sens avant l'ultime test VO2 Max, où il devra à nouveau enfourcher un vélo.

"Cette fois-ci, ils te bloquent le nez et te mettent un tube dans la bouche pour que tout ton oxygène aille dans un baril. Heureusement qu'il y a une période d'échauffement avant que tu ne commences tes 15 minutes. Mais c'est épouvantable comme tu as la gorge sèche en finissant..."

Le mini Combine du Canadien

À peine sortie de cette chambre des tortures, Leblanc prend le temps de partager son expérience. Il répond aux questions des autres Québécois qui attendent impatiemment leur tour.

Leblanc prend également le temps de savourer une bonne nouvelle: il vient de recevoir une invitation pour le camp de développement d'Équipe Canada junior, qui aura lieu au mois d'août.

Mais ses 48 heures au Combine s'achèvent. Le jeune homme va retourner à Kirkland et se préparer pour demain, où il a à nouveau rendez-vous avec le Canadien.

En effet, Trevor Timmins et ses hommes veulent jeter un second regard sur certains espoirs et voir à l'oeuvre des Québécois qui n'ont pas été invités à Toronto.
Le rythme y sera peut-être moins frénétique, mais l'enjeu pour Leblanc sera tout aussi important.

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Old
06-01-2009, 10:43 PM
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Rgolt
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for some reason i dont remember how to read english...this is an english site right???

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06-01-2009, 10:49 PM
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vokiel
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nice, thanks

Edit: I'd take a shot at translating it, but I'm not that good with full length texts. ( I'm a francophone btw )

Just use the fish folks.


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06-01-2009, 10:54 PM
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Thx a lot. It's really appreciated.

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Old
06-01-2009, 11:01 PM
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Watsatheo
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Nice read. I'm glad he and Kristo are close enough to talk about these things.

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06-01-2009, 11:01 PM
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Merci, très bon article!

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06-01-2009, 11:03 PM
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merci marc antoine

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Old
06-01-2009, 11:12 PM
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Good read ! thanks !

crazy when you think that they are just kids

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06-01-2009, 11:15 PM
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I'm really liking this kid.He's seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is pretty talented. Would not be averse to picking him with our 1st.

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06-01-2009, 11:15 PM
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lol @ Sjostrom

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06-01-2009, 11:17 PM
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thanks Marc-Antoine but your article is online http://www.cyberpresse.ca/sports/hoc...du-combine.php


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06-01-2009, 11:17 PM
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excellent article


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06-02-2009, 12:06 AM
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Merci, excellent article.

Leblanc looks reasonably mature.

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Old
06-02-2009, 12:09 AM
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Great read, thanks.

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06-02-2009, 12:10 AM
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rt
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Speak American, gosh durnit! Seriously though, can we get any highlights in English?

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06-02-2009, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rt View Post
Speak American, gosh durnit! Seriously though, can we get any highlights in English?
here what my good friends google had to say (hope that make sense )

Quote:
Louis Leblanc behind the scenes of the Combine

Marc Antoine Godin

Toronto - The 104 best hopes for the NHL Entry Draft had an appointment this week in a hotel near the Toronto Pearson Airport. This is the NHL Combine, the last step before the repechage, which allows teams to prepare their final lists. Louis Leblanc, the best attacking side in Quebec this year, takes us behind the scenes of the event.

Leblanc, player center 18, is labeled first-round choice. He played last season in Omaha in the USHL, along with Danny Kristo, the choice of second round of the Canadian in 2008.

Since it will play next year at Harvard University, Leblanc is considered an American college player. And under regulations that affect the hopes for the NCAA, Leblanc can be combined more than 48 hours.

"There are guys in the major junior who are here since Monday, Leblanc stresses. I am meeting with nine teams and 19 others Wednesday Thursday!"

As if the schedule was not responsible enough, Leblanc must find a way to include a personality test than an hour that passed the Minnesota Wild.

Set to quarter turn

Leblanc embarked on a process that has the air of "speed dating". Twenty-eight teams want to talk to him and he will meet them all in around 24 hours. But the invitation to interview a player is not always a measure of the value of a team. The proof is that only 13 teams interview John Tavares, the darling of this year.

The first two interviews allow Leblanc evacuate his nervousness. "The same issues come up often performs there. The teams ask me to talk about my family, my main qualities on the ice and things that I have to improve ..."

All players were given a worksheet where appointments were entered in the minute. Throughout the day, dressed in conservative suits, they come and go in the hotel.

"Teams are entitled to 20 minutes with each player," says Leblanc. You have to knock at the door the minute you where to go. The hotel is full to bursting and there are only three lifts. It has always afraid to be late!

"According to the teams, between four and 15 people you receive. The questions can come from anyone. Nearly half of CEOs attending interviews, but often they are silent."

"Why are you going to Harvard?"

Leblanc's decision to go to Harvard arouses curiosity.

"Teams want to know why I chose Harvard instead of a school where the hockey program is best known, supports Leblanc. But if I go to a place where the studies are not so privileged, I'm going to play hockey and the rest of the time, what I'm going to party?

So I answer by asking the teams what is best: to study or party? "

But the New York Islanders are dull. "They do not, they tell me that I will play in a division where the players are less strong."

CH to finish

Occasionally, questions astonishing mix with more agreed.

"People of the Colorado Avalanche asked me what was the most embarrassing song that I had on my iPod. And another training I was asked what person I would most like to have dinner. I Barack Obama responded. I would like him to explain how it happens to be a leader for 300 million people. "

Ironically, it was with the Habs - the team for which he dreams of playing - that Leblanc finished his round of interviews.

"I knew that was the last Canadian and it gave me a boost."

But in late afternoon Thursday, Leblanc legs soft. It has not stopped the day. "I must eat, he says. I just bars in the pockets and I ate some muffins that I have offered some teams.

"And then I am up early tomorrow. I expect to live the most difficult hours of my life."

As in an aquarium

Chance willed that Leblanc is the first to take part in physical evaluations, the culmination of the Combine.

From 7:30 am Friday morning, doctors review. An hour later, it appears in the ballroom of the hotel, which was transformed into the large gymnasium. Other players promised to go with the NCAA. Wearing a sweater the same, they are differentiated only by number.

Twelve exercises are supervised by appariteurs of York University: Measuring the rate of fat, weights, sit-ups, etc.. Leblanc pass from one station to another in the eyes of recruiters, some therapists and DG.

"Danny Kristo had warned that, under the gaze of all the recruiters and the media, I would like in an aquarium. He told me to do what I had to do and not to be influenced by results of others. "

Vertical jump, high jump, agility test, the first portion runs like a charm.
But Leblanc knows he will need to ride the legendary Wingate, where Fredrik Sjöström had passed in 2001.

The bike is death

Leblanc climbing on the bike Wingate, which is used to measure the anaerobic form. For 30 seconds of extreme effort, Leblanc must pedal resistance despite a nearly 20 pounds.

"Thirty seconds appeared to me hours," says Leblanc.

After enrubanné pedal his feet, three appariteurs encourage loudly. Their cries cast astonished silence in the room where the day has not yet taken his own pace.

"You feel bad after that, like any unbalanced. I had the high heart. It was the death!"

Leblanc has twenty minutes to regain his senses before the ultimate test VO2 Max, where he will again ride a bicycle.

"This time, they will block the nose and you put a tube in his mouth so that all your oxygen goes into a barrel. Fortunately there is a warm-up period before you can start your 15 minutes. But It is appalling as you dry throat ending ... "

Mini Combine Canadian

Right out of the chamber of torture, Leblanc took the time to share his experience. He answered questions from other Quebecers who eagerly await their turn.

Leblanc also takes time to savor the good news: he has just received an invitation to camp for the development of Junior Team Canada, which will take place in August.

But the 48 hours ending at Combine. The young man will return to Kirkland and prepare for tomorrow, where he again meeting with the Canadian.

Indeed, Trevor Timmins and his men want to take a second look at and see some hope in the work of Quebecers who have not been invited to Toronto.
The rhythm may be less frenetic, but the challenge for Leblanc will be equally important.

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Old
06-02-2009, 12:49 AM
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Sounds like a good prospect.

Interesting read

enrubanné What does this mean ?

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Old
06-02-2009, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analyzer View Post
Sounds like a good prospect.

Interesting read

enrubanné What does this mean ?
Taped.

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06-02-2009, 01:21 AM
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very good read, thanks Marc-Antoine.

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Old
06-02-2009, 03:31 AM
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very nice article..thx marc-antoine. nice to know that he was at the habs combine today

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Old
06-02-2009, 06:47 AM
  #21
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That was a good article. Thanks Mag1328 for posting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgolt View Post
for some reason i dont remember how to read english...this is an english site right???
Here, this URL may help you during your first trip to the Internet:
http://translate.google.ca/?hl=en&tab=wT#

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Old
06-02-2009, 07:15 AM
  #22
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good work Mag

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Old
06-02-2009, 08:14 AM
  #23
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A member of french media on HF, funny. Thanks for the article.

Pathetic question from the Avalanches: "what was the most embarrassing song that I had on my iPod", I can't see this as a proxy for any useful concept. They need to hire someone, quick.

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Old
06-02-2009, 09:20 AM
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gillyguzzler
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Thanks for the insight Marc-Antoine. Did Leblanc perform well? Were his scores average, above, below?

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Old
06-02-2009, 10:49 AM
  #25
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Belle article Marc-Antoine! Merci!

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