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It ‘really did bother’ Bennett after pull-up story ‘went crazy’

Jun 9, 2014, 4:36 PM EDT

Kingston Frontenacs v Windsor Spitfires Getty Images

NEW YORK — Sam Bennett could’ve lied and said it didn’t bug him. He could’ve just played it cool. But the talented 17-year-old forward who’s expected to be among the top picks at this summer’s NHL Entry Draft had to be truthful after his failure to do a single pull-up at the scouting combine made headlines across the hockey world.

“To be honest, it really did bother me,” Bennett told a handful of reporters at a New York hotel Monday. “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 said he’s been working on pull-ups since the combine, and “can already do at least two.”

However, it wasn’t hard to tell the whole experience has been embarrassing for the Kingston Frontenacs star.

“I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal (after the combine), until the next couple of days when it went crazy,” he said.

As the story blew up, Bennett received words of encouragement from a number of people, including Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators.

“I don’t even really know him at all; he trains at my gym,” said Bennett. “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.”

Bennett doesn’t expect his performance at the combine to affect his draft status.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter about pull-ups,” he said. “It’s your performance on the ice.”

  1. tru2joelu4eva - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    he just didn’t want to be drafted by the panthers

    • elvispocomo - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      Or Buffalo. Or Edmonton…

  2. lowenni - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Certainly an embarrassing story for a top prospect to have go around, but the kid’ll be fine. He’s got the summer to train and I have a feeling he’s gonna spend another year in junior anyways. A lot of people are saying this is a weak draft, and while that may be true, I think Bennett’s gonna be a real special player. Lot of intangibles combined with crazy skill.

    • bcsteele - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      He is also small and really hasn’t tapped his “man strength” yet. He’s also now motivated to reach the next level fitness wise. I agree, he’ll be fine.

  3. gbart22 - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    The pull up story is so silly it’s reeks of machoism

  4. spezzdispenser - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Spezza’s a helluva guy. Gotta love him.

  5. djshnooks - Jun 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Drew Doughty couldn’t do a pull-up.

    Jay McKee couldn’t lift 200 pounds.

    Both turned out to be excellent players…and Doughty could still develop into one of the best of his generation.

    Jerry Rice, a wide receiver, ran a slow 40…how did that effect him? It didn’t.

    I couldn’t do a pull-up at 17 years old, but I could lay somebody out on the football field and/or hockey rink. Granted, I’m not a professional athlete…but it’s all the same, it’s sport…especially at 17 years old.

    He has plenty enough time to gain strength. It is not what will define him as a hockey player. It has no bearing on his draft stock either. He is an elite talent because of his play on the ice, not pull-ups.

  6. thatguytml92 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    I hope people care about pull ups so he falls in the draft and the leafs can get him.

    Media has nothing better to do then to try and ruin someone’s draft status. I’m sure Gilmour had some words with bennett throughout all of this, the crazy thing is imagine he could do these pull ups, would he be that much better then these other guys coming out?????

  7. skr213 - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Didn’t Joe Thornton fail to do a single bench press or something during his combine?

  8. montrealknowledge - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    17 year old who can’t do a pull up, who cares he is 17… Once he has professional team trainers working with him, he will improve so much. This means absolutely nothing.. Push ups maybe, pull ups are damn hard. Not an issue, Kevin Durant had problems lifting his eyebrows he was so weak, he is doing fine.

  9. rabidbillsfan - Jun 9, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Mike Mamula… ‘Nuff said.

  10. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Brian Burke said it best: In his entire time in and around the game of hockey he has yet to see a game that’s included a pull up station. The Flames will not think twice about drafting him based on pull ups.

  11. 19inarow - Jun 9, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    It’s not about the pull-ups, kid.

  12. jaysjaysallday - Jun 9, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Still that’s pretty pathetic can’t even do one. I’d be embarrassed and I’m not a pro athlete.

  13. oruacat2 - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    Of all the flaws that could need correcting, doing pull-ups is probably the easiest to address.
    He’ll be fine.

  14. avfanforlife - Jun 10, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    91 points in 57 regular season games for Kingston and we’re worried about pull ups? Plenty of time kid to work on the strength and weight gain… be smart about it and don’t rush it. In a few years, as you are signing your first multi-million dollar contract, do a few one-handed pull-ups for the nay-sayers and then head to the bank.

  15. bullwinkle88 - Jun 10, 2014 at 4:06 AM

    Do you know how many Sam Reinhart did? Two.

  16. stevefromsacto - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    What hockey skill requires pull-ups? There are lots of people who do just fine with push-ups, arm curls, bench presses, etc., but have a problem with pull-ups.

    When I was in the service years ago, I could do push-ups in my sleep, but I could not, for some reason, do the monkey bar exercise or the rope climb. Somehow I managed to survive.

    I’m sure Sam Bennett will do just fine.

  17. rabidbillsfan - Jun 10, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Honestly though, I’ve had the pleasure (Pleasure?) of seeing how some of the best players in the NHL are built (body wise), these guys look like average guys from the waste up. No crazy muscle definition, few Six-packs. Now, on the flip side, I have seen some of the largest quads and most defined legs in any sport from Hockey players. Thats their game, you could throw up >200 pounds on the bench, but squat <300 and be considered difficult to move, and knock off the puck. Jagr is my favorite example, the guys got some trunks, but is by NO means ripped. Excuse me now while I punch a wall to regain my manhood… Gratatata

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