It can’t be fun to be known as the guy who can’t do a pullup at the NHL Scouting Combine. In fact, Sam Bennett can confirm that reputation is not the ideal one to have.
The 17-year-old, who is tabbed as the No. 1 prospect ahead of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, garnered the wrong kind of attention when he failed to do a single pullup in Toronto last month. Bennett took some serious heat for his lack of upper body strength, and he understandably admitted that the entire situation did annoy him.
“To be honest, it really did bother me,” Bennett told a handful of reporters at a New York hotel Monday, via Pro Hockey Talk. “Because I know I can do them now. I’m going to keep working on it. By the end of the summer, I want to rip off as many as I can, and just prove people wrong.”
Bennett’s on his way to proving the pullup haters wrong, as he told reporters that he’s been hitting the gym hard since the combine. It must be paying off because the Kingston Frontenacs star “can already do at least two.”
The non-pullup incident wasn’t all negative for the promising forward, though. As the story spread, Bennett received some words of encouragement from Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, who told him to keep his head up.
“I don’t even really know him at all; he trains at my gym,” Bennett said. “He was just, ‘I gotta call this kid, because I feel so bad for him.’ He just talked about how he’s been through a lot of criticism. You’ve got to find a way to deal with it, because it’s going to be there your whole hockey career.”