The Winnipeg Jets were good enough to provide video of two press scrums and one player interview of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi. The questions were exactly what you'd expect at this time of year. (Who do you think will draft you? What do you think of that team? How was the combine? Do you think you'll go first or second?) The answers, also what you'd expect.
Notably: Auston Matthews was likely told by someone to smile and be personable to the press, because he did it very carefully in his scrum. He was also careful to mention that it was nice to see friends and former teammates at the combine, and that he liked Buffalo. He's really come a long way from the 4 AM phone call where he stared in shellshocked wonder as his future assumed shape in one drop of a pingpong ball.
Matthews also said that Lou was straightforward and serious, and you could tell that he cared.
Patrik Laine is definitely flying with the media narrative that's been handed to him. He's cast in the Jack Eichel role this year. After being asked if there was any chance he thought he'd go first, he said very frankly that of course he should go first. That he had up until the draft to prove to the Leafs that they should consider him. When pressed he said essentially, Um, not much I can do about it now, but I'll let my play on the ice speak for itself.
Laine was also asked about his leg, the one he injured during the combine, and also answered frankly.
"Did you hurt the leg you had surgery on? When did the injury today occur?"
"Yep [it was that leg]. During when I had 7 or 8 minutes, then it started to hurt, I didn't want to hurt it too much, so I rested it."
Will this be spun into a, "Laine has a chronically injured leg," narrative? Let's watch media and see if it shows up.
"It's nice when Teemu has played in Winnipeg and the city already knows some Finnish people." - Patrik Lainehttps://t.co/cZWdgJOQr2— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 3, 2016
I liked Jesse Puljujarvi's interview best. He's clearly working on English, but that also made his answers quite short and to-the-point. He felt pretty great about his hockey season, and about being named MVP of his team at the WJC. (Remember Kapanen's game winning goal for the gold?) "Nice season," he said.
And then the Jets TV guy totally gave up and ended the interview shy of two minutes in.
Here are my interview superlatives!
Guy who looks most like Draco Malfoy: Patrik Laine
Guy who was told that staring hard at a reporter will crack their foreign language: Jesse Puljujarvi
Guy who will go first overall: Auston Matthews