Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wild Head Scout Talks About Cody/Who Gives A Hill of Beans About Hickey?

Minnesota Wild Head Scout Tommy Thompson was much more open when I talked to him following the NHL draft, then when we last spoke prior to the draft, when I was poking at him over whether the Wild would sign Kristofer Westblom to a contract by the June 1st deadline.

I spoke to Thompson Monday about picking Rockets forward Cody Almond in the 5th round.

Tommy, did you get a steal in the 5th round by selecting Cody Almond?

"Just because he wasn't rated by Central Scouting meant little to me", Thompson said from Minneapolis, Minnesota. "We are not concerned with how other people access the players we are high on."

How many times did you see Cody before you said, yep he's worth being picked?

"I only saw Cody three times, and I never saw him until the first of March in Prince George. To be totally honest with you, when I was in Prince George I was concentrating on Dana Tyrell. I spoke to Lorne Frey (Rockets Director of Player Personnel) about him. I have a lot of respect for him and his judgement with hockey players. He might have all of the notes on the back of his hand, but he has the information there." (chuckle)

Did you speak with Cody to get a sense of what type of individual he was off the ice?

"I came all the way out to Kelowna a week before the draft to interview Cody. He has a good build, and he did very well when I chatted with him. I even brought my tape measure and weigh scale from my bathroom to see how big he was (chuckle). Cody has potential."

What are you looking for when you interview a prospect?

"I am trying to figure out what the guy is all about. I think interviews are dangerous if you pick a guy who is a mediocre prospect, and when you interview him you say to yourself he's a nice guy so we'll move him up on our depth chart. But I think sometimes their are red flags you can get from interviews, that tells you the player doesn't have the right personality to be an NHL prospect."

How tough is it for you to determine if a player can potential play pro with just three viewings like you did with Cody?

"I have two rules in scouting Regan. The essence of the job is to project future performance, not to reward past performance. And the second is, you have to separate yourself from the hype."

Tommy while we are chatting, any thoughts on the Wild failing to sign Kristofer Westblom to a deal by the June 1st deadline?

"We can certainly, or any club can sign him to a tryout agreement and bring him to camp".

Would the Wild be interested?

"I would certainly consider it...yes. We just have to see what out situation is with contract goalies right now. We should know that by the end of this week."

***I hope to talk with the Tampa Bay Lightning Head Scout about Torrie Jung Tuesday, and will post his thoughts on taking the Rockets goaltender in the 7th round.


Can I rant?

Bare with me!

I know I shouldn't care, but I feel sorry for anyone who plays junior hockey in Seattle.
I am sure the organization, including GM Russ Farwell and the coaching staff treat the players first rate, but the media coverage is piss poor.
I mean Thomas Hickey is taken 4th overall in the NHL draft, and in Seattle who really cares? Thomas who?
Sure the 5 thousand hardcore fans that come out to watch the T-Birds would have been pumping their fists in the air in celebration when he was selected, but getting media coverage on what we in smaller market media would consider a 'big deal' is like pulling teeth in Seattle. Yes I realize Seattle has a long hockey history, but the media don't give a rats rear end!
I spoke to T-Birds Marketing Director Ian Henry today, who told me he was calling the media in Seattle to inform them of this 'big deal'. Hickey is the first T-Bird d-man to be taken in the first round since Chris Joseph was taken 5th overall by Pittsburgh in 1987, and is the highest selected T-Bird d-man ever selected at the NHL draft.
One TV station thought they could come down to the arena and interview Hickey that day. They didn't realize that he goes home for the summer and is in Calgary. When that franchise moves from Seattle to Kent, I'll join in with T-Bird fans by pumping my fist in the air in celebration.
Thomas Hickey deserves better, and the kids that preform at this level of junior hockey deserve better from the media.
For the Seattle Thunderbirds, no media coverage, or getting very little of it, is bad business.


David's Color Comments said...

There is no doubt the draft was a strange one and guy's were taken all over the board. I'm not as surprised as most that Hickey got taken as high as he did. When we saw him in Seattle this year we were both pretty high on him. I think he's a good fit with L.A.

Regan and the Rockets said...

Good skater, offensive d-man who has decent size..what's not to like? Did I expect to see him drafted that early...no!! But is he best offensive d-man in the Western Conference in his age group...yes. Frankly Hickey impressed me more than Ellerby out of Kamloops, because Ellerby changed his game half way through th season. He came into the league as a tough bugger, who could play. He seemed to play more of a soft game at seasons end.