Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: connor mcdavid
Wayne Gretzky continued to shower Connor McDavid with praise, saying that he’ll be a rock star in the best way for Edmonton.
from Connor McDavid of Sportsnet,
There have been plenty of great players over the years, but what always separated them from the merely good one was their ability to sense the moment. The intelligence to know when it was time for a truly superior performance, and the wherewithal to be the best player on the ice that night — that’s what set the Gretzkys, Messiers, Lemieuxs and Crosbys apart.
Connor McDavid is not there yet, OK? No one is saying that he is.
But, in his first scrimmage as an Edmonton Oiler, with about 7,300 people who came out on a beautiful July evening solely to see him play a 4-on-4 game for 40 minutes, then 3-on-3 for another seven minutes, all McDavid did was score five goals. His team won 8-6.
It was, as his GM would say later, a “a 3-on-3, 4-on-4 no-hitter.” But there was one player who had the puck on a string, one player who emphatically showed that he was head and shoulders the most dynamic, highly-skilled player among the 31 prospects.
The stage, however small, was his and he owned it.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
They came, they saw, they were entertained by the Oilers’ newest star Connor McDavid.
Nearly 3,000 curious fans flocked to Rexall Place Friday for the Edmonton Oilers orientation camp to see the No. 1 draft pick in the flesh for the first time. Though McDavid only went through a few on-ice drills, fans let out raucous cheers when he casually shot the puck into an empty net.
The 18-year-old centre, who signed his entry-level contract with the Oilers Friday morning, wore a bemused grin as he described the attention for a simple practice, coming through the tunnel from the dressing room to the ice and hearing cheers from scores of fans in McDavid jerseys and T-shirts.
“It was awesome,” McDavid said. “Just a normal practice. We weren’t doing anything too special.”
Awesome, but a little different for McDavid to have so many people turn out on a blistering hot summer day to watch a teenager, along with fellow draft picks such as Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl go through their work outs.
Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, the club has agreed to terms with centre Connor McDavid on a three-year entry level contract.
McDavid, 18, has spent the past three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, recording 285 points (97G, 188A), 104 penalty minutes and a +83 rating in 166 career games. His 285 points are second most in Otters franchise history.
I was expecting Jim Nance to appear with Daryl Katz to help put the Green Jacket on McDavid.
via Edmonton Oilers press release,
Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, with the first overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Oilers have selected centre Connor McDavid from the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Erie Otters.
McDavid, 18, has spent the past three seasons with the Otters, recording 285 points (97G, 188A), 104 penalty minutes and a +83 rating in 166 career games. His 285 points are second most in Otters franchise history.
From the Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
People keep calling Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel “generational” players.
It’s a glowing description for the pair of 18-year-old centres expected to be the first and second picks in Friday’s National Hockey League draft at Sunrise, Fla. But what does that mean? Is it the next rung up from a franchise player?
“A generational player to me is a complete player who needs limited coaching, understands the time and temperature of a game, and can beat you with his work and beat you with his skill,” said St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “You don’t have to paint them a picture to get them to understand it. They already have it in their DNA.”
Bobby Orr had it. So did Wayne Gretzky. Mario Lemieux, for sure. They come along every 10 to 20 years, if hockey fans are lucky.
Eric Lindros was thought to be a generational talent as a teenager because he was so big and made plays with soft hands. Concussion problems, though, limited his climb up the generational scale. Sidney Crosby was a wunderkind growing up, but will he ever be on par with Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux?
McDavid and Eichel, the Boston University freshman centre, have been the rage for years and had scouts raving “watch this kid; he can do it all.” They are both coming to the NHL with a skill set and more hoopla than all the rest. But they haven’t played an NHL game.
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
IT’S AFTER eight a.m. and Connor McDavid is rolling out of bed late. He comes downstairs and stumbles into the kitchen. He asks his mother how his father is feeling. “Still sick,” Kelly says. She also tells her younger son that he’ll be late for school unless he picks up the pace. It’s only around the corner and down the street, but still. She knows he was up late, too late, watching the Anaheim-Chicago game stretch into overtime. After the first OT his iPhone pinged: Bobby Orr with a reminder that a kid like him needs his rest. But there was no way he was going to be able to sleep without knowing who won.
Kelly might sigh but won’t get on Connor too hard. She’s just glad to have him home, even if she tells visitors that “the place is upside down” with him back and it’s only been a week. She tells them that he hasn’t unpacked his stuff from Erie, that she has no idea when or even if he’ll get around to it. After all, a lot of it stayed packed up all season, still folded and boxed up from last August. When he’s out of earshot, she talks about her kid becoming “a real clothes horse.” She could never have seen that happening. The picture of him in her mind is still the kid in the splash pants, sweatshirt, running shoes and baseball hat, stickhandling in the driveway. Forever 10.
from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,
It was the summer of 2011 when Jeff Jackson heard about the next great prospect in hockey.
The former assistant general manager of the Maple Leafs had only recently launched a career as an agent. One of his clients, Sam Gagne, was training at a rink in Oakville, Ont. Then a centre with the Edmonton Oilers, Gagne was approached by a skinny 14-year-old who asked if he could join him on the ice.
“Afterward, Sam called me,” Jackson says. “He said, ‘You have to find this kid. I have been in the NHL five years, and he can do things I can’t do. His name is David O’Connor.’”
Gagne remembered the bantam-aged youngster had told him he was about to begin playing for the Midget-AAA Marlies of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. So Jackson made an inquiry with the club.
“I asked about the O’Connor kid, and they chuckled,” Jackson says. “They said, ‘Oh, you must mean Connor McDavid.’”
Four years later, there is no confusing the teenager with blazing speed and supernatural skills. He is hockey’s most promising prodigy since Sidney Crosby – and potentially the greatest player to enter the sport since Wayne Gretzky.
“In the history of the NHL, how many players have been so highly touted?” asks Andrew Ference, the Oilers’ captain. “There are not many. Probably only Crosby and him.”
from Alex Ballingall of the Toronto Star,
“I’ve had a lot of other players come in with some bravado,” said McQuaid, a 45-year-old teacher at McDowell Senior High School in Erie, Pa., home of the OHL’s Erie Otters.
“More often than not their academic quality is embarrassing, and I’m pretty tough on them,” McQuaid said. “Within a week’s time, I knew that was not going to be the case with Connor.
“It was almost like he was a student first.”
Almost. Because, even though he won the CHL’s Student of the Year twice in a row, we’re still talking about Connor McDavid. You know, hockey’s next Chosen One?
But his academic prowess is undeniable. He got straight As in Grade 12 this year, according to McDowell principal Tim Rankin, acing courses:
social studies class on contemporary issues
Hardly basket weaving or underwater bubble blowing.
“He’s just been awesome around here,” Rankin told the Star this week. “His focus is so much on hockey, in terms of making himself the best he can be, and then academically, he clearly wanted to be very devoted to academic integrity and quality work.”
First it got "cute," then it got hilarious: Don Cherry always dedicates one Coach's Corner to the top prospects taking in the Stanley Cup Final, and Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome were very complimentary to each other, suggesting that having best pals to go through the tumult of a pre-draft season helped them greatly. Then Jack Eichel pulled a fast one and gave Don Cherry a USA Hockey polo shirt at the end of the segment, leaving Cherry ever-so-briefly tongue-tied.
There's a joke about Don probably confusing the U.S. National Team Development Program and the political party known as the NDP forever in there, but you'll figure it out.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
There were those around the hockey world who watched Connor McDavid walk down the studio hall with a camera in his face after Edmonton won the draft lottery and determined that the serious look on his face meant he was disappointed that his destiny was to go to the Oilers.
His dad said he’s absolutely sure that was not the case.
“To be honest, he was a little bit in shock,” said Brian.
“He would have had the exact same expression on his face if the winner had been Buffalo, Toronto or Arizona. The reality is that his future had just been decided by bingo balls.”
Brian said he was aware of certain members of the media who reacted by suggesting maybe Connor would pull an Eric Lindros and decide he didn’t want to go where he was picked. He said these media members neither know his son nor, obviously, his history.
from Matt Higgins of the New York Times,
For Connor McDavid, an 18-year-old center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and the most anticipated N.H.L. prospect in decades, compliments accrue as steadily as goals and assists.
The Otters’ assistant coach Jay McKee, who played 13 seasons as an N.H.L. defenseman, has been known to pull out his phone on the bench during games to record a clip of McDavid’s dazzling play.
Tim Murray, general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, a self-described “glass-half-empty guy” not given to giddy appraisals, said he has not seen a better junior player. “I watch him too much and I think too much about him,” said Murray, who has been scouting teenage N.H.L. prospects for 23 seasons. “I wish I could help myself.”
Sherry Bassin, the Otters’ 75-year-old owner who possesses a lifetime of hockey memories and a voice like an old record, scratchy and faint, recalled that the Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who coaches the O.H.L. rival Barrie Colts, said of McDavid: “He skates like Bobby Orr. He has the vision of Wayne Gretzky. And he handles the puck like Mario Lemieux.”
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch offers his usual amount of rumors in a Sunday column discussing scoops from around the league, but on an evening that even the New York Times profiled Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, Garrioch's most interesting tidbit involves the "TankGate" situation. According to Garrioch, the league is pretty peeved by the Sabres and Coyotes' rather blatant attempts to finish lowest in the league:
“It’s embarrassing,” a league executive said.
The battle for No. 1 pick Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters has been one that teams have been watching all season. For the most part, the Sabres have been sitting in last place, but once the Coyotes cleared the deck at the trade deadline they’ve really gone downhill.
“You can’t blame the teams involved because there is a reward for failure and that’s the highest odds in the lottery,” said the executive. “Maybe you need to change the lottery to give all the teams that miss the playoffs an even chance at the No. 1 pick, or not weight it so much. Who knows?”
The league did change the lottery that gives the team that finishes last only a 20% chance at the No. 1 pick so there has been a major move. Now, they can’t fall below No. 2 so if they don’t win it’s not that big a loss. Perhaps, the league needs to take a second look.
Garrioch continues with a cornucopia of rumors...
Regardless of whether he did so because the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes or not, the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons penned a lovely article about Connor McDavid and Erie Otters owner Sherry Bassin, and it's a plain old superb read about a young man and a hockey owner who doesn't treat "the franchise" like a simple commodity:
“He’s great guy and I love listening to him,” McDavid, an NHL superstar in waiting, said of his general manager and pal. “I think we’ll be friends (for a long time). When he talks, people listen. He has that effect. He’s a great speaker. Any time he gets in front of an audience, he gives a pretty good speech. It’s always something you take away and remember for a while.
“I’m very lucky to have him around ... He’s been through it all and he has no bias,” said McDavid. “He’ll tell you straight how it is. It’s one of the things I love about him.”
When McDavid broke his hand in an ill-advised fight in November, the entire hockey world stopped to ponder what it all meant. But no one thought about the mishap more than the kid himself. He saw his dream season, his world juniors possibility, his matchup with Jack Eichel crumbling away in a hospital room. It was a terrible time.
“When he got hurt,” said Bassin, “I got hurt. When the doctor came in, and it didn’t look good at first, he was sitting on the hospital bed, slumped over, and he was looking so sad that I just went over and put my arms around him and I hugged him and I said ‘I love you, you’re going to be OK. This is going to be OK.’
“It was pretty emotional for all of us,” he added. “His dad was sitting right there and everybody got choked up. I think that sealed the special bond we have.”
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
So would having McDavid starring in revenue rich Canada help the league more? Or would having him do the LeBron thing and prop up a weak US market be the best medicine for the league?
Even among bottom five teams there are widely diverging scenarios. It’s hard to begrudge the Sabres getting him, but the real debate for the NHL if they were to get in the lottery fixing game would boil down to two choices, according to sports marketing experts.
Would the league be better off with McDavid going to a non-traditional hockey market and doing for Arizona or Carolina what Crosby did for Pittsburgh, where the once struggling Penguins have a new arena, an eight-year sellout streak and are local TV ratings colossus?
Or would the NHL be better off with McDavid in Toronto, giving the league something they’ve arguably never had: a sure-fire superstar in the league’s biggest, richest market?
McDavid had 4 goals and 2 assists last night, his first hat trick in the OHL.
from Irene Thomaidis of the Toronto Sun,
With the world junior in full swing, the hype around Team Canada phenom Connor McDavid is hitting another peak.
And what bigger hype machine is there than Twitter to document the interest in the Newmarket native — or the tournament in general.
“The world junior is really a perfect storm in terms of driving conversation on Twitter,” Twitter Canada’s Christopher Doyle said. “It’s Team Canada’s best young hockey stars taking on the world, in front of a large national TV audience during the holidays.”
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Boston University freshman Jack Eichel's status as an NHL prospect has reached the point that he almost sounds too good to be true.
In addition to being the most-talked-about U.S. center prospect since Mike Modano was drafted No. 1 overall in 1988, Eichel also has a humility and leadership quality that endears him to teammates and coaches.
"It's just Jack being Jack," said Team USA general manager Jim Johannson. "He's a true team guy who leads by his level of play and by his interaction with everyone, including his teammates, coaches, training staff and equipment guys. He handles everything in a real comfortable and mature way. It all comes natural to him."
from Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail,
For years, people have been telling McDavid that he is a once-in-a-generation hockey talent. He’s dealt with that pressure the same way he reacts to a pushy maintenance worker – politely deferential, but in full control of the situation.
The best way to describe McDavid’s oversized bag of on-ice tricks is that he plays as if he’s spotlit.
That’s easy to do when you have the puck. McDavid commands attention even when he’s nowhere near the play.
You could spend 20 minutes watching him sit on the bench.
For the whole time he’s out there, he’s stalking, proactive and reactive all at the same time. The best comparison is Mario Lemieux’s predatory glide.
The Edmonton press has always impressed me because it so exhaustively analyzes its team's performance (as you probably know, they were figuring out "fancy stats" a decade ago), and their passion seems to reflect the passion of the team's fan base. It's hard to watch the Oilers go through such an incredibly difficult period of time because you know that the bad times are going to be exhaustively analyzed...
And while writing all but a novel about the Oilers' firing of coach Dallas Eakins' this evening, the Edmonton Journal's Terry Jones simply could not afford to not "go there" and wonder whether the installation of GM Craig MacTavish as coach while Oklahoma City Barons coach Todd Nelson slowly but surely takes over = no "Failing For McDavid"--which, sadly enough, might have been the best thing for the Oilers to do:
The trouble with the move is that the “new coach spikes” could effectively result in the Oilers not finishing 30th overall and take themselves out of the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes with Jack Eichel as a consolation prize if somebody else won the draft lottery.
With a generational player (or two) out there, this is not a year to finish 26th instead of 30th. The Oilers already ended up with Sam Gagner instead of Patrick Kane because they went and won the last game of a regular season.
“It’s not in anybody’s DNA in professional sports to talk about that or to try and do that,” said MacTavish. We’re very much trying to turn the performance level of the hockey club around. Certainly our draft status had no bearing on this.”
The Grey Cup is taking place today, which is why the Wings-Canucks matinee is the only NHL game on the schedule, and the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons spends the vast majority of his Sunday notebook discussing the match-up between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders (airing at 6 PM EST on TSN), but he spends one meaty paragraph discussing all things NHL-related:
I wonder if Bob McCown read his own book. In the bestselling 100 Greatest Hockey Arguments, McCown makes a case against Paul Henderson’s inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame. A strong case. Lately, he has been pushing the Henderson Hall of Fame agenda. Strange ... On Saturday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks were tied for the most points in the NHL and that has to be wrong, doesn’t it? ... The first quarter MVP in the NHL: Pekka Rinne ...
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Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, connor+mcdavid, joffrey+lupul, jonathan+bernier, martin+brodeur, montreal+canadiens, paul+henderson, pekka+rinne, ryan+johansen, st+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs
via the Erie Otters,
The Erie Otters announced on Wednesday that forward Connor McDavid suffered a fracture of the 5th Metacarpal bone on his right hand during last night’s game against the Mississauga Steelheads.
McDavid will not require surgery and is expected to miss the next 5-6 weeks of the Otters' schedule.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Was it McDavid’s choice to fight? Ultimately, yes. But we know the pressure that is put on hockey players to “man up” and drop the gloves, and we know of the sport’s general indifference to the abuse heaped upon the better players by the less talented.
We also know that there are knuckle-dragging scouts out there who would excitedly put a star beside McDavid’s fight as though it represents his guts and desire. These are the same folks who see PIMs are a big plus with any player.
So sure it was his choice, but then again, not really, right? The highlight shows put fights on display every night, the newspapers love to run pictures of scraps and there’s no shortage of those who argue that fighting is an integral part of the game that must never be eliminated for fear of the consequences.
Much of the culture of Canadian hockey propagated by the usual suspects is that fighting in hockey is manly, it represents courage and the best values in young men, and it demonstrates a commitment to the sport that non-fighters don’t possess.
Junior hockey, of course, is right at the epicentre of this culture, particularly as it is played out in smaller cities and towns across the country.
Not the best video but good enough to see what happened...
added 7:33pm, A better quality video....
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
What sets a generational player apart from a talented or a franchise player is his impact on and off the ice. Generational players can become not just the face of a franchise, but the face of the league.
The Roy-led Canadiens in 1993 were the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, a good but not great NHL team spurred on to success by a single, galvanizing star.
The Los Angeles Kings have proved in recent years you don’t necessarily need that one defining player to win a championship, but it sure helps in critical moments to have one to rally around.
Do McDavid and/or Eichel genuinely fit the bill as future generational players?
“To me, they do,” answered Craig Button, the former NHL general manager and long-time hockey scout, now a commentator for TSN. “You watch Connor McDavid; he’s electrifying. Remember when Guy Lafleur would jump over the boards and everybody in the building knew he was on the ice? Then he’d get the puck and it was like, ‘Okay, here we go.’ Well, that’s McDavid. I use this distinction carefully, but McDavid is to Eichel what Gretzky and Messier were to one another. Eichel has the power game – he can impose himself on opponents with his size, whereas with McDavid, it’s the way he skates and the way he thinks.
“When you compare these guys to players like Messier and Mario Lemieux, that’s rarefied air – and to me, they’re in rarefied air.”
At the age of 17, Connor McDavid is already under constant pressure, being deemed ‘The Next One,’ on the ice he’s living up to the hype, and off the ice he’s in great hands, as he trains under the tutelage of Gary Roberts.
Bob McKenzie sits down with top prospect Connor McDavid where they discuss the draft, the perceived competition with Jack Eichel, the upcoming World Junior tournament and his superstitions.
You can watch the 16:35 minute interview below or at TSN.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Connor McDavid spent most of Wednesday night with Russians draped over his back.
Unlike a year ago at the Canadian team’s world junior summer camp — when the physical play overwhelmed McDavid at times — the 17-year-old phenom met power with power.
The favourite to be selected first overall in the 2015 National Hockey League draft, McDavid was an offensive wizard in a 5-2 Canada victory in a world junior exhibition game, creating scoring chances on seemingly every shift.
That’s nothing new for the Erie Otters star. What is revealing is how he was getting it done. A prime example came in the second period, when he stayed on the puck and manufactured a play that led to a goal by Nick Ritchie.
The NHL Draft marks the end of one cycle of scouting and the beginning of another. After a few weeks' worth of rest, NHL teams' scouts will head to the Czech Republic to watch the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, they'll take in Team Canada and Team USA's World Junior evaluation camps (Team USA's camp is handy as they play Finnish and Swedish prospects), and they'll take in the month's worth of exhibition games and "tournaments" that precede European pro league's seasons--and that's just August.
In September, while NHL teams hold their prospect tournaments, OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams hold their training camps and open their seasons, NCAA hockey gets ready for an October start, and junior hockey leagues across the U.S., Canada get underway.
With the "Fail for Connor McDavid" line already being parlayed around in Buffalo, NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale reports that the 2015 draft's other top prospect, Jack Eichel, was at the draft in Philadelphia, hoping to make the U.S World Junior team and watching his U.S. National Team Development program friends hear their names called by NHL teams:
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal at The Sporting News,
Reebok’s CCM Hockey brand is close to signing a multiyear head-to-toe apparel and equipment endorsement deal with 15-year-old hockey phenom Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick of the Ontario Hockey League.
If the deal is completed, as expected, it would be the most significant deal Reebok has signed with a young hockey player since 2005, when it signed Sidney Crosby, 17 years old at the time and now an NHL star, to a five-year deal. McDavid would be the youngest hockey player to endorse Reebok.
Glen Thornborough, Reebok CCM vice president of global marketing, confirmed that he was in discussions with McDavid, his family and Bobby Orr, the NHL hall of famer and founder of the Orr Hockey Group, which represents McDavid.