Here's a transcript of freshman goaltender Eamon McAdam's extensive interview on The Pipeline Show with host Guy Flaming on Saturday afternoon. Archived audio of his appearance is available here.
A couple quick takeaways:
- McAdam - and I'm not sure you can get the full effect of this without listening - sounds like a guy who is clearly ready to get on with his post-Waterloo hockey career. While it seems as if he has a decent relationship with tandem-mate Cal Petersen ("professional," as he put it), it also seems like the roller coaster ride of 2012-2013 took an emotional toll.
- Good news if you like Penn State and one of the Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks or Florida Panthers: he felt as if his interviews with those teams went particularly well at the NHL Scouting Combine.
- He presented very well and with extraordinary maturity. McAdam also flashed a sense of humor in spots, like when he said he "wished he could've [puked]" after taking the infamous Wingate bike test at the combine or in expressing his frustration over his childhood team, the Flyers, apparently taking a greater interest in Petersen than in him.
- The hard reality of recruiting good players is that the CHL is always going to be a threat. But it was still disappointing to hear that McAdam talked about the London Knights, the team owning his rights up north, "a ton" with current London goalie Anthony Stolarz, particularly in light of tweets like this one saying that McAdam is "still very much in the picture" for the OHL club (the tweet, by the way, occurred pretty soon after the conversations with Stolarz would have happened). At the same time, it seems like he's not the least bit interested in competing with Stolarz, who will remain in London for 2013-2014 and notably bailed on Nebraska-Omaha in the middle of last season to head there. The tea leaves right now seem to say that Penn State is safe for this year, and we'll see where we stand after that.
Guy Flaming: You're in Philadelphia today, Eamon?
Eamon McAdam: I'm actually on my way to school right now.
GF: On the way to Penn State. Well, thanks for joining us and fitting us in. Welcome back to the show, I know we had you on way back in September, but it's been a while since we were able to catch up with you on the phone. We've been able to read your blogs all year, and we kind of joked about this earlier: what's been more stressful this season, leading up to the draft, waiting for the draft, or having a blog with us?
EM: <laughs> Definitely waiting for the draft. It's a lot of pressure, but good pressure. The blog is kind of a good way to look back on things, kind of let everybody know how I'm handling everything.
GF: Yeah I know, it's been a lot of fun for us too, getting a glimpse behind the curtain a little bit and seeing what life is like for you guys. For your season, and again, it goes all the way back to August with that first trip to Russia with the Black Hawks, and finally now as the draft is just a week away, are you ready for the draft to be over?
EM: Yeah, yeah... it's been a really long year, and it's something I've been looking forward to pretty much the entire time. It's going to be good when it's over and I can move on to the next thing and kind of put it behind me, put this whole year behind me. Not saying it's been a bad year, but it's been a long one, and I'm excited to start at Penn State and get going with all that.
GF: Well luckily for you, and a guy in this draft year probably doesn't get as many opportunities to play in showcase events as you have had this year - starting with the Junior Club World Cup, then you've got the All-American Top Prospects Game in Buffalo in September, the World Junior A Challenge you got to play in, and won gold at... was that Nova Scotia or PEI? Nova Scotia, I think, wasn't it?
EM: Yep, it was in Nova Scotia this year.
GF: So you got to play in that, then the USHL Top Prospects Game... so you've been in all the little marquee events along the way this year. And then the NHL combine as well. So really, if you're checking off the little milestones for a draft-eligible player, you've hit them all.
EM: I've definitely had my chance to showcase myself. There's tons of scouts even just at our USHL games, but I've had a lot of chances where there's definitely been a prime opportunity to prove myself, and all in all, I think I've shown pretty well in most of those events. So I'm looking forward to an exciting draft.
GF: A tough situation for you at times in Waterloo this year, because your netminding partner is also draft eligible in Cal Petersen, so you guys are both vying for time and you both wanted to play more than you actually did. How do you keep that relationship healthy though, where you're both competitive and you want to play, but you're not undermining each other?
EM: I think we had a really good working relationship all year. I think we were both really professional about it. We knew we were going to be playing for time on the ice, he's a great goalie, and I was pretty much in the same situation as the other guy. I think we just both used it to improve our game, every day at practice, being able to look down at the other end, and almost competing within yourself and saying 'I've got to stop more pucks than him every drill.' And I think it made both of us better all year. Moving up in the ranks, that's how it's going to be - two strong goalies no matter where you go, so you're going to have to fight for time. I think it was a good way to prepare, and for both of us to improve as well.
GF: Was it tough in the playoffs though? You're sharing time all year, and then he gets to start the first three games of the playoffs. Then he gets yanked, and you go in and start the next game. But was it tough to not rotate at least, the first couple games?
EM: Yeah... I would've liked to have had that switched around, with me the guy that went first, but I had been in the same situation the year before where I played a pretty solid number of games during the season, and then going into the playoffs we had a guy that we brought in, Stephon Williams, that was going to be our go-to playoff guy, and I kind of knew that towards the end of the year. I think I learned how to handle that situation a lot better for this year. I think I was really positive on the bench, upbeat and staying ready, being ready to go in if I needed to. That's playoff hockey, and you never really know what's going to happen. You've really got to be ready at all times.
GF: Tell me about the NHL combine and what that was like for you. What was more challenging, the sitting down and meeting all the GMs and going through the interview process, or was the physical testing harder?
EM: They were pretty equal toughness. Obviously one's more of a mental challenge and one's more of a physical thing. I think the thing everyone talks about is the bike testing, and your fatigue going into that bike testing is pretty high already. And then you go into the test, and you've got 100 people watching you, and you go as hard as you can on the bike, then you have 30 minutes to recover and you have to do it all over again. That was pretty challenging, but also the interviews... they were a cool experience. I think I took them more as a positive than as a negative, something I was worried about. I actually got to sit down and talk with Patrick Roy, a guy I loved to watch when I was growing up, so that was a pretty cool experience when I was in with Colorado.
GF: How many teams did you get to have a chat with?
EM: I sat down with 16 teams, and actually talked to another one on the phone just the other day that I hadn't talked to up to this point, so maybe I'll have another one or two before the actual draft.
GF: I know some players have had invites out to cities, to teams after the draft. I think Chicago had one, Montreal and Toronto both had little combines of their own, I know some players came out to Edmonton, a couple guys. Anything like that for you since the combine?
EM: No, no real contact like that. I know Cal [Petersen] and Ian [McCoshen] got invited to a couple of those, and they were telling me about them, just telling me that they were smaller versions of the combine with individual teams.
GF: Now I've been asking every player since the combine when we've had them on the show, when it comes to the bike test, the Wingate, did you throw up or not? And I know some guys laugh and say 'no, I toughed it out,' and some guys say 'I did,' so I have to ask you as well, did you puke?
EM: I wish I could've. I was right at that point, sitting there for 30 minutes right before it and right after it, and I just couldn't get it out. I felt pretty crappy, but no I didn't throw up.
GF: I guess the draft is pretty close to home. So I assume that you're going?
EM: Yep. It's only about an hour and 15 minutes, so definitely going over there, heading over.
GF: Leaving the combine, did you have a better feeling about any one particular team after having 16 interviews. You mentioned Patrick Roy and Colorado, I don't know if that was just because he was somebody you looked up to as a kid, but was there a team where the interview actually left you feeling hopeful at least?
EM: Yeah, I got a pretty good vibe from a bunch of teams, but a couple that stood out were Florida, Colorado and Chicago. They all stood out as really positive interviews and just kind of got a good vibe from them. I don't know how much that means in the long run, but I definitely felt good from my interviews with those teams.
GF: I'm trying to remember from when we talked to you earlier in the year, because you're from Pennsylvania, was Philly or Pittsburgh a team that you cheered for growing up?
EM: I was a die-hard Flyers fan growing up. My mom was a huge fan, so she got me into it early.
GF: Alright, well that's my team too. Did the Flyers have an interview with you?
EM: No, I actually didn't talk to Philadelphia. They talked to Cal <laughter>, so I'm kind of jealous about that.
GF: Maybe something will change and they'll give you a call before the draft still. What have you been doing since the combine? I know a lot of guys are just hitting the gym, hitting the gym, and you might be doing that too, but I also know you're enrolled in school now.
EM: Yeah, I really haven't had much downtime. I was skating a lot, getting ready for the World Junior tryout, and after I headed out to that, I got back and it was my first real week of downtime. I just got back on the ice three, four days ago and now I'm heading out to school. So I'll be hitting the gym there, skating... probably just kick around summer hockey, but mostly hitting the gym with our strength guy out at school.
GF: I'm going to ask you about Penn State in a second, but you mentioned the World Junior camp. You weren't one of the four goaltenders going to Lake Placid, but you were one of the six that were invited to the camp. What was that experience like for you? I'm sure you're disappointed not to go to Lake Placid, but you've still got another year of eligibility for the World Juniors, so there's next year to look forward to. But tell me about the experience of going to that camp.
EM: It was pretty cool. All the guys shooting on us were guys from Michigan, so I was kind of getting a taste of what I'll be experiencing this year, and kind of planting the seed in their head with me stopping them. I don't know, it was fun. And I met a couple good goalies and good guys that I'll probably keep in touch with along the road here. All in all, it was a pretty good experience I think.
GF: One of the other goalies at camp was Anthony Stolarz, who plays for the London Knights. The London Knights happen to own your CHL rights. You are going to Penn State, let's get that out of the way, but did you guys have a conversation about London at all? Because he didn't start this past season in the OHL and went up mid-season. Did you guys talk about London at all?
EM: Yeah, I talked to him about it a ton. He's actually from pretty close to where I'm from, so we were on the same flights on the way there and back. We grew up playing against each other, so we knew each other pretty well. We talked a lot, and he's loved his time there, and he's definitely staying for next year because they're hosting the [Memorial Cup], so... it almost puts that idea even further out of reach, about me going there. But yeah, I definitely talked to him about it, and it sounds like a pretty good place to play for him.
GF: Alright, but you're going to Penn State, you're going to play for Guy Gadowsky, and I know they've got a couple other goaltenders who, I think one will be a senior and one will be a junior [note: actually, a junior and a sophomore]. So there's going to be competition for starts there as well. How do you feel about the depth chart and playing time for you going into next season as a freshman?
EM: I think it's all about work. I think I'll be given a shot to be the guy if I'm working hard enough and I'm getting it done, and I feel like I can do that. I've just got to prepare for this season and really just work as soon as the season starts and prove to the coach that I can be his guy.