Connor Mcdavid, Mcdavid, Oilers discussed on The Lead

The Lead


Have won it again. This was an incredibly successful team for the entire 1980s, and then they had ownership issues. They had all kinds of problems. The oilers missed the playoffs for ten consecutive years. They were a punchline. They were the worst team in the league by far. Officially, even though it was over a long time ago. Chicago comes into Edmonton and spanks the owners. The oilers when they got Connor McDavid in 2015, that was supposed to be a turning point. It was a turning point of turning points that was the fourth time they'd had the first overall pick, and three times previously it hadn't been enough to turn the page on the franchise's failures. McDavid was going to be the difference. And 7 years into his career, he hadn't been, because no matter how well he played personally, he could not overcome the weaknesses of the team around him. No, it's frustrating. We want to play in the playoffs as a team. I personally want to plan to playoffs. I'm not happy about it. They've been eliminated in the first round. They've missed the playoffs at times. They've been a wreck of a franchise, and frankly, it's been a little bit embarrassing to have the best player in the world and be unable to win a game in the playoffs. This is the first real sustained playoff success. The oilers have had. It's something that for the city. I mean, if you've got a decade supporting just a miserable NHL team and they supported it in incredible ways, that building sold out again and again and again when the team was nowhere near competitive. So you look at those long suffering fans, the fact that now they're enjoying this incredible performance by McDavid by the supporting cast and getting to see some team success. Enthusiastic fans after the oilers beat the flames 5 to four, pushing them into round three of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's an incredible moment. It's the first time in almost 20 years that there's been something to really celebrate in Edmonton. The fans watching the game from the ice district Plaza in downtown Edmonton Thursday were equally jubilant. Some even taking their shirts off in the excitement. And Jonathan, can you just talk a little bit about the battle of Alberta and how that may be added a little bit of extra drama in theater to that series? Well, that's the other thing. It's been 30 years since we've had a battle of Alberta series. And in the 1980s, Calgary was one of the best teams in the league and the road through the playoffs, always ran through Alberta. It was Edmonton and Calgary, Edmonton and Calgary Edmonton and Calgary. You know, it was like those famous Colorado Detroit series, but taken up a notch because of the physical proximity. Those teams hated each other, and even a regular season game between Calgary and Edmonton can be incredibly meaningful. It's a destination on the 82 game NHL schedule. So being able to watch a very good Calgary team with major stars, incredible depth, the well coached, go head to head with the oilers in the second round of the playoffs. It was going to be a treat no matter what, and obviously for Euler's fans, the way it ended was perfection. Well, we're just over two rounds into these NHL playoffs now, but Conor McDavid has already been doing some historic stuff. Jonathan, can you explain what he is doing? Numbers wise and put some of that into historical perspective for us. If you look at what Connor McDavid and Leon draisaitl have done and you compare it to past playoffs, coming into game one against Colorado, each of them had 26 points. If you look at the scoring leaders in previous playoffs last year, only one player had more than that through four routes. That was Nikita kucherov on the Tampa Bay lightning. If you go back three years, nobody in the entire playoffs had that many points. These guys are scoring a double the traditional playoff rate. And I mean, Leon draisaitl's McDavid's equal in points. He hasn't been as equal in play. He's playing through injury. He's playing on McDavid's wing. As much as he is definitely contributed, he's been partially a recipient of McDavid's genius. And what McDavid is doing is something we really haven't seen since the days of Wayne Gretzky. Maybe Mario Lemieux in the 90s is the other guy who's close. And you know, numbers aside to me, it seems like the way that people are talking about Connor McDavid's performance in these playoffs is different. It's something I've never heard before. Like, for example, we saw two players from the Calgary flames, Matthew kuchuk and Rasmus Anderson basically say that Conor McDavid is being them all by himself. Yeah, we've let one guy beat us a few nights now, so just back to the drawing board and figure out a way to stop him. You know, we gotta stop him as a unit. One individual can't stop him. So we just gotta stop them together. And all time hockey greats like Paul Coffey and Mike Madonna have come out of the woodwork to talk about how incredible Connor McDavid is. Jonathan, are there any comments that have jumped out at you and really sort of stuck with you? The one that really stood out to me was a piece written by Pierre lebrun for the athletic. You know, he talked to Wayne Gretzky and Wayne Gretzky said, you know, I don't know if words can describe it. Well, if anyone was going to describe how Connor McDavid is playing, it would be Wayne Gretzky, who's the last guy who played like this in the postseason. And even for him, this is something he hasn't seen in so long that it's hard to not sell it. It also seems like people just sort of struggle to come up with words to describe what he's doing. So I guess what words do you have for us, Jonathan? You know, how do you attempt to explain how he's taken his game to another level? What is he actually doing on the ice to kind of reach these new heights? He has amazed me so many times over the course of his career with his speed, his capacity to process the top speed. Nobody else in the NHL can move and think and react as quickly as he can. It's like he's come down from another league. He's an NHL player who's been demoted to the American League to play in the American League playoffs, except that he's doing it in the best league in the world. The turning point for me were the games against LA game 6 and game 7. He was playing 28 minutes in game 7 against LA. Those are defensemen minutes. He was playing every other shift at top speed. Nobody does that. And every time he got the puck, nobody could do anything to him. Here's McDavid now the indirect off the boards comes back to the oilers captain, wraps it around. It's gone. Connor McDavid. You play him physically. He bounces off checks. You give him space, he burns you, you play him tight, he burns you. He finds McDavid in the middle. McDavid twisting and turning. Connor McDavid, look at those moves of passive front. Yeah, there's just nobody who can do the things he's doing right now, and that very much includes regular season Connor McDavid. He's found a level somehow that's above and beyond what he's already done, and this is a guy who's led the NHL in scoring four times. This is the fastest player in the league finding another gear. A physical player finding another level of physicality. He is incredible. This is the relentless effort of Conan McGahn. And you think he likes that. This place has erupted..

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