Slowly but surely, though, one of the secrets to the Caps' draft success may be coming to light. Last year at around this time, it was revealed that the Caps asked some "strange" questions of potential draftees:
"They asked me if I would take a pill to be the best player in the world," said [Mikael] Backlund. "I said, 'No, I try to be the best player without the pill.' They liked that answer."They also spoke with Russian Ruslan Bashkirov through impromptu translator Akim Aliu, not because they were interested in Bashkirov, but because they wanted to get an insight into Aliu's character (or so the story goes).
Fast forward a year and the Caps' scouts are at it again:
As it turned out, Zach Boychuk did hear the request correctly.I don't know which is most interesting - these personality tests generally, that when asked to sing something, Boychuk went with this (though I guess it's better than "I'll Tumble 4 Ya"), or that the Caps are spending time getting to know the eighth-rated North American skater, who almost surely will not be available when their first pick (23rd overall) rolls around. Hmm...
The Washington Capitals did want him to sing.
Sing? Yes, sing.
In a blur of interviews with 23 teams at the National Hockey League's prospects combine in late May in Toronto, this oddball demand, not surprisingly, stood out.
But what's a guy to do?
Clear his throat, that's what.
"They'd asked me what my favourite movie is, and I'd said, 'Billy Madison,' " recalls Boychuk. "There's a song in there (Adam Sandler) sings about going back to school. So I sang the song that Billy Madison sings. It was pretty funny."