Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: connor mcdavid
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.