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NHL Exec Asked A Prospect If He Was A Pussy During A Pre-Draft Interview

(The Athletic)–Caught off guard, the player didn’t know how to react. Whether the tactic was to see how he’d react when challenged or to test his ability to control his emotions, the player still isn’t sure. He refused to take the bait and, to his relief, that team did not ultimately draft him. Still, it was a revealing glimpse inside a world that still values some of the hyper-masculine chest-pounding from middle-aged men looking to bully or intimidate a teenager.

(One could argue these types of egregious situations are still indeed useful in interviews, when viewed as a sort of Rorschach test for an organization; one can learn much more about the interviewer than interviewee by this sort of behavior.)

Alright, let’s be honest about a few things right off the bat here.

1) I really like Katie Strang. She’s been a hockey writer all over the internet for about as long as I can remember and I think she does very good work.

2) If you want to take offense to the use of the “word” pussy as being sexist, I will certainly hear you out. That can be valid criticism of this interaction. Maybe the exec should’ve used a different word. The point is that nothing quite cuts to the chase like calling him a “pussy”. Everyone knows what it means immediately, even if it can be seen as insensitive or vulgar.

3) If you are trying to build a team and you’re drafting a young player you need to find out if he’s a pussy. You just do. And if asking the suspected pussy if he’s a pussy is out of bounds, well then maybe that is a sacrifice you need to make. And this is just an interview process. It’s simply words. Try going to a locker room of a showcase tournament before a game where NHL scouts are trying to learn about kids. They tell the coaches what they want to see and then the coach walks into the room and says “hey, Dumo(for example maybe we will use Brian Dumolin here, hypotheticall of course) you’re fighting (player x) in the first 10 mins of the second period”. That shit happens. Staged fights to figure out if a particular player is a pussy.

So this anonmymous player in the article “didn’t take the bait” and the team didn’t draft so I guess they got their answer…he is a pussy, in their eyes. I think the team wants a reaction. Maybe they don’t want the kid to react like Leo in The Departed

ddeparted

but they don’t want some meak little cry baby complaining to a reporter about it x many years later.

You know what sounds like a better reaction…what was said later in the article

‘You are the most unprofessional person I’ve met so far in the hockey world and if that’s how you feel, then don’t fucking draft me.’ And then get out and walk out,” Walsh said. 

Give them a taste of their own medicine. Show a little fight. Tell them to fuck themselves. All they probably want to see is a kid who will stand up for himself and his teammates. Challenging a kid and questioning his character is a good way to find out how a kid will react in a pressure situation.

That’s my personal opinion because you know what, even though it makes people uncomfortable…the NHL is hyper masculine. Intimidation is a still huge part of the game and as long as the sports is played by guys going 30mph in an enclosed area wielding a 6ft long lethal weapon…it always will be. And that’s part of why we love. It’s violent, it’s fast, and it’s dangerous. It’s other things as well, but hockey has an element of danger even if fighting were to be outlawed. You need guys who are willing to play hard and mean and then if you’re a skill guy you need to be able to play your game even when guys are playing hard and mean against you. That’s the nature of the beast.