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McDavidPresser

I expected Edmonton Oilers’ GM Pete Chiarelli to intentionally set the bar low for Connor McDavid’s rookie season when he sat down with TSN’s Bob McKenzie in Penticton Saturday because, really, that’s the smart thing for him to do. He most certainly obliged.

“I don’t want to put any numbers on him,” Chiarelli offered when McKenzie asked him about realistic expectations for McDavid as a rookie. “Let’s say 20 and 40. To me, that would be really good.”

My first reaction was that Chiarelli was being a touch conservative, but 60 points isn’t far off where I have already pegged McDavid — .89 PPG while playing 78 of 82 games for a total of 69 points.

That’s not what Chiarelli meant. “A good season for Connor McDavid would be 20 goals and 60 points,” McKenzie followed. Well, no. “Twenty goals and 40 points,” Chiarelli interjected, adding, “That’s under-promising, isn’t it? Yeah, I might take the over on that one.” 

WHAT PETE SAID

You and me both. A 40-point season for McDavid would be monumentally disappointing. You know it. I know it. Chiarelli knows it. Fact is, there’s no way Chiarelli was going to attach a big number to McDavid. That’s better left to fans and media, who love to prognosticate. Chiarelli touched on that.

“With Connor, obviously he’s a special talent,” Chiarelli said. “There’s going to be ups and downs in the year and I’ve heard some kind of ridiculous statements about him.

“Maybe in five years you look back and those statements aren’t ridiculous, but there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him and you want to make sure that he’s in the proper development forum, so you may hear me under-promising. It just takes some pressure off of Connor and everybody.

“At the end of the day, we all want to win. He’s a special talent, so . . . he’s going to be with us for a while and producing. It’s just I want to make sure he gets the proper first few steps.” As a follow-up, McKenzie asked Chiarelli what he meant by “ridiculous.”

EXPECTATIONS

“Maybe ridiculous is the wrong adjective,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve heard some of these numbers that guys say he’s going to get. I’ve heard some guys talk about, some pundits and other people talk about, ‘He’s the next this. He’s the next that.’ Ridiculous is the wrong adjective. I just want to put it in proper perspective.

“He’s an 18-year-old kid, a young man. It’s a heavy league and you saw the game the other night. I mean, it’s a heavy league and those are rookies playing, so there’s going to be a lot of learning and adjusting along the way. Obviously, he’s a special talent and he’s going to do it more quickly than others, but there’s going to be learning.”

Like I said, for me the happy middle ground between the safety blanket Chiarelli wrapped McDavid in with his 40-point forecast Saturday and the pie-in-the-sky projections we’ve heard and read about McDavid getting 100 points and winning a scoring title is that .89 PPG. 

WHILE I’M AT IT

Megaphone

  • Fans pumped about Darnell Nurse making a bid for a roster spot on the blue line have to be jacked after watching him take apart Rasmus Andersson when the Calgary rookie got in his face and stayed there in Penticton Saturday. It’s one fight, and in a rookie game, but Nurse showed the nasty edge that’s going to be part of his considerable repertoire as an NHLer.
  • It looks so far like Leon Draisaitl is picking up where he left off after having a terrific WHL and Memorial Cup playoff with the Kelowna Rockets. Draisaitl will have to be convincing, as everybody knows, to make the roster to start the season. He was Saturday — his set-up pass to Braden Christoffer in the low slot was silky smooth and his game-winner on a penalty shot was money.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • OilClog

    Nurse to going to Regher the entire flames roster.

    For the next 10years.

    Bennet and Johnny Hockey better have eyes in the back of their heads.

    Nuge, Mcdavid. Lolol!

    Suck it Calgary!

    • Maybe the “City of Champions” team should bomb it again one more year just to make sure that they can get another first overall pick. If they don’t they’ll still have no chance of making the playoffs because they’re all a bunch of pus**ies!!! Go Flames!

      • JackB

        SO !!! . . . Another Flames Troll comes to the BEST BLOG SITE in the “Nations string of blog sites”

        Go home troll . . . and stay there with “Ziggy” and “the Great Walter White” scum bags.

        I wouldn’t call the Flames team “a bunch of pussies” . . . (only a classless jerk would call a professional sports team “pussies” . . . and the Flames are actually a pretty good team)

        But the Flames Fan’s absolutely ARE A BUNCH OF PUSSIES!!

      • YFC Prez

        Thanks for your contribution.

        Any thoughts on Draisaitls performance, Nurses fight, the amazing zamboni driving skills in BC, the refs hair do’s?

        He’ll do you have anything to say about the game of hockey in general ?

        I’m really glad the nation network is doing better each day but the side effect of having more people like this guy^ on this site in every article is brining down the quality of the fan interaction here. I wish guys like you would stick to TSN. That community was killed less than a year after it started.

        If you want to troll fine. But at least put a smidge of effort into it.

        Heres hoping the nation guys are able to figure it out. I don’t imagine it’s easy.

    • freelancer

      I think it’ll be tough to send him down if he keeps playing with this kind of confidence. A little ALL time won’t hurt him either. He’ll be playing in the NHL full time by December. Book it.

  • Cape Breton Oilers

    Any update on the potential signing of Klefbom to a new long term deal? The thought of Nurse and Klefbom patrolling the Oilers blue for the next decade makes me smile

      • Dear fishbowls finest.

        An Oiler season seat holder can (and should) feel some sympathy for the situation Connor McDavid finds himself in for a plethora of reasons that include but are not limited to.

        The fishbowl,

        The entrenched media (entrenched in 1980),

        The desperation of the fan base (borderline psychosis),

        Wanye stalking,

        The jealousy of other fan bases,

        The jealousy of rival media,

        The current Oilers roster (not very damn good eh!),

        Sportsnet “experts”,

        Teenage acne,

        Stauffer,

        The owners kids salad,

        Jock itch,

        etc.

        Hes an 18 year old kid burdened with dragging a trash heap up the mountain. Its a walk a mile in someone else’s shoes thing. I do that. It helps me appreciate stuff and put things in context and such.

        But jealous flames fan works and fwiw I don’t do sour grapes, I like them fermented… Burrowing Owls Merlot is fabulous.. available at wine and beyond.. canadian eh.

        Section 226 at northlands for the past 20 years…

        We good?

        • The Soup Fascist

          So you feel sorry for McDavid because of the Katz kid’s hair?

          Just so I am clear, the Oilers fan base is psychotic but your obsession of a teenager’s hair is “normal”?

          I thought Rexall security installing metal detectors was asinine. I am now reconsidering that opinion.

  • bazmagoo

    Draisaitl will make the team, he looks ready to me based on what I’ve seen in the prospects game so far. Nurse not so much, a year of seasoning in the AHL is what will be best for his development. He’s not ready.

  • Draisaitl on McDavid’s wing? Or will Shlepyshev be the big man on the right wing?

    Hmmmmm.

    Pouliot – Nuge – Eberle

    Hall – McDavid – Shlepyshev

    Lander – Draisaitl – Yakipov

    Hendricks – Letestu – Korpikoski

    Daaaaaang.

    • freelancer

      Wouldn’t throw shepy in the show just yet. He’s an incredible talent though. Hidden gem in the third round that will no doubt be a top 9 forward in the NHL for years.

      • Semenko27

        Oh, absolutely with you there. This is more of a later this year, or starting line up next year type scenario. I don’t think they should break either Draisaitl or Shlepyshev on the wing of McDavid.

        This year I think is about getting Mcdavid sorted out, seeing what Yak and Schultz are really made of, and maybe giving guys like Nurse, Drai, Yakimov, and Shlepyshev, a few looks in the NHL as injuries allow.

        But, given Chi’s interview, and the fact only Poulliot has size in the top six, I imagine it won’t be too long before one of those two ends up on his wing.

        My money is on Shlepyshev because e engages a lot more physically than Draisatil. Also he’s seems like more of a finisher, as oppose to a set up man like Drai.

  • freelancer

    BROWNLEE : Let us see how he might fair . Duchene dropped in his goals/game by only 30% going into his first year of pro . Nate MacKinnon dropped only 15% ,neither a generational talent as such as McDavid expected to be . You have McDavid pegged at only 35 % transferable from juniors to first year . REALLY !

    The worst this century have been Hall at a paltry 23% transfer rate and Yakupov at 38% transfer rate . I am surprised you have McDavid transfer rate lower than Yakupov’s . Now that’s a bold prediction on your part . McDavid certainly not a generational talent at that rate .

    • On July 28 you commented on an item I wrote outlining my expectations for McDavid:

      “McDavid Expectation – 100 plus points first season if he stays healthy . Things to consider with Hall, Eberle and Hopkins only . They made Perron (57 points) and Pouliot have their most productive year scoring by a long shot , and all three have more room to grow and especially with McDavid on board . Due to injury Hall was not in top 10 scoring last year , but was 7th and 9th(in 75games only) the two previous seasons if you remember . Nuge should have a huge year offensively this season and McDavid and Draisaitl should help that as well, and take some of the pressure he had as basically lone center talent .

      “I expect , if healthy Hall and McDavid will both be pressing for league lead in scoring this year along with perhaps Eberle and Hopkins being in top 25 . If anyone breaks 100 again it should be Hall and/or Mcdavid .I really don’t foresee a talent like McDavid being only a point per game player – he’s better than that right off the bat , and that is not unreasonable considering him and rest of team.”

      You think McDavid will have “100-plus” points this season. We get it.

  • Semenko27

    Nurse is gonna be great but starting a fight with a kid who’s 6 inches shorter than you who doesn’t fight and being jacked about it afterwards is a dink move. He needs to check his head on that one. Give the kid a few shots and when you realize he’s not fighting back let him fall ffs

    • YFC Prez

      Anderson picked that fight. He got very aggressively in Nurses face and clearly wanted to go. It only after Nurse started swinging he had a ” wtf did I just get myself into moment of clarity and then it was too late”

      Mess with the bull….

    • CMG30

      The ‘kid’ was trying to prove his mettle for the Flames brass ’cause he want’s to make the big team. Challenging a player like Nurse was one way for him to do that. He knew that he was going to get his you-know-what handed to him and Nurse was generous in obliging him. Flamers need to let this one go.

    • Spoils

      not sure which fight you watched, but Andersson engaged Nurse first, then Nurse clearly gave Andersson plenty of opportunity to back down. You play with fire, you might get hurt. and Andersson is the only one to blame for getting absolutely dummied.

      As for the “dink move”, he was just venting out the remaining rage, being passionate, pumping up the team.

      few shifts later, oiler’s take the lead for good.

      amen.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Honestly, we could use a few more “dinks” on this team. That adjective was used on a lot of past Oilers by the opposition and their butt hurt fans.

        Messier, Anderson, Tikkanen, Linsemen, Gator and Pronger were all “dinks” – God Bless ’em.

        Welcome aboard Darnell. We could use three more just like you.

        Edit: to be clear, I am only asking God to bless the Copper and Blue wearing Chris Pronger. The Chris Pronger that played elsewhere in the NHL should spend eternity listening to only Justin Beiber songs.

    • Harry2

      I was at the game and you couldnt be more wrong. Andersson spent most of the game up until that point chirpin Nurse and hiving him the odd whack wnhenever he could.

      And after the whistle just before the fight Nurse really didnt show any interest in fighting bit Andersson didnt give it a rest. So Nurse dropped his gloves then taught Andersson some manners in the form of a 5 punch flurry.

      Good for Andersson for standing up and doing his best to rattle Nurse. And good for Darnell for finishing him off

    • JackB

      First of all . . . Nurse didn’t start a fight with someone 6 inches shorter! Anderson asked Nurse to go. Anderson also took the first glove-off punch (and it looked like he landed it square on Nurse’s face.)

      In the after game interviews, Nurse said “he asked me to go”. In the interview with Anderson, Anderson said “I’m not really a fighter but sometimes you have to step up for the team”.

      My take on it was Anderson was trying get his team going, got into Nurse’s grill, and thought his actions might spur on the team. (He also said it was his first fight and he learned a learned a lesson.)

      The Calgary interviewer (Ryan Leslie) also said “Anderson stepped up and fought a much bigger Darnell Nurse earning the respect of his team mates”.

      It is what it is . . . it was what it was . . . and yes Nurse was pretty “exuberant”. And maybe he could have let up a little once Anderson started to turtle and go down . . . But Anderson INVITED the fight AND LANDED THE FIRST PUNCH in Nurse’s face. So Nurse just went full bore on him.

      Like I said, it is what it is, and when Anderson turned his head away, most of Nurses punches were to the back of Anderson’s helmut (until it came off) then to the back of his head. And Anderson may even have landed the best punch?

      And your comment that Nurse “being jacked about it afterwards is a dink move” . . . that’s ABSOLUTE CRAP !! . . . EVERY hockey player is jacked after being in a fight.

      He didn’t ask for the fight, didn’t start it, but he finished it. End of story !!

    • Canoe Ride 27.1

      Starting a fight????? Did you watch the game? He didn’t start it, he finished it! Finally we have a player that WILL NOT put up with crap from anyone. I loved it, the whole thing. Nurse not turn the other cheek, how pumped he was after the fight and how fast he was throwing them. In closing, the only ” dink move ” I see is you posting whiny crap about the first Oiler in years that can play and take care of business.

  • Butters

    I hope the Oilers ice the best possible roster they can. Even if that means having 7 million worth of defenseman eating popcorn every night.

    One of the only players the Oilers have that can, and will look out for McDavid is Nurse. He has the skill to be on this team. Plus I want to see Donovan McNabb hanging out at Rexall.

  • LibrarianMike

    I loved that Nurse showed a bit of attitude after the fight. The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you have the goods to back it up.

    I mean, god forbid somebody in this sport shows a little bit of personality.

    • Butters

      Do you think injury, or do you think he just has nothing to prove at this tournament so why risk it?

      If it’s the former, that is par for the course for the Oilers.

      If it’s the latter, well, he’s not a China doll. The kid is going to get hit so why handle him with such delicacy?

      Also, the tourney sold out for the first time ever, largely due to people wanting to see McDavid play. How will they take the news?

      And finally, does this also mean he won’t play in the Bears rookie tournament? That game always always always gets chippy. Like last year when Nurse got fed up with the cross checks and took that guy to the ground.

    • mr_nihilism

      Pretty good game on now at Vancouver Canucks . com right now , between Jets and Canucks . Tied 0-0 after first with Canucks holding a 13-6 shot advantage . HIlite was Subban blasting Ehlers into backboards , and Lemieux rushing in to pummel Subban . That Lemieux can sure throw punches . Kind of expected Oilers might have done likewise with Virtanen .

  • OilClog

    Logically there is no reason to play McD in a meaningless game filled with scrubs and wannabes who would like nothing more than to take him out just to make a name for themselves. At least the Golden Bears might have more restraint (I hope).

    • bazmagoo

      Maybe they benched him for two games because he underperformed in game one ? Get him used to be benched before season begins in earnest ? Maybe they wanted to play it safe and make sure he was a go at Rexall with the price they are charging and expected turnout ? Maybe whiplash or concussion protocol ? Maybe none of the above . Whatever reason , he did not seemed overly pleased about only one game by his interview .

      • Canoe Ride 27.1

        I was at today’s practice in Penticton. McDavid looked great, heathly. Practiced fully the whole skate.

        Obviously I was impressed as anyone with his skating, stick handling, vision, etc. What hit me though was a little thing at the end of practice.

        He grabbed the milk carton from the bench, skated it over to the net full of pucks, got on one knee and started to put the pucks away. About 3 or 4 other guys helped but I just found it interesting that he’d do that. No ego with his teammates. I’ve got guys in my beer league that would never help pick up pucks. The team seems to respect this kid for more than his hockey skills, and that is a good sign.

        Lastly, as much as I want to see him play, it’s the right call to sit him tomorrow. He’s not a prospect. We know what we have here. He’ll get plenty of ice time with the Bears game, camp, and preseason.

      • The Soup Fascist

        He’s a lock to make the team. Most of the other players at this tourney are trying to prove themselves. The ice time is better spent on guys who have something to prove.

  • JackB

    Sorry to be a downer but I think we have to be a bit realistic about our young players. Peter C is managing expectations and not trying to put too much pressure on a very young player who is already carrying the world on his shoulders. I think he may be good for 60 this year but I agree with PC that lets not set that as an expectation because if he stumbles out of the gate the pressure builds and mentally, it makes it more difficult for him to succeed.

    Nurse and Drai may or may not be in the NHL this year. Sure they look great against young, inexperienced players but the gap between an average NHL player and the top AHL player is large. If they do come up they will get far less playing time than in the AHL – is that best for their development? Maybe Nurse with injuries or Drai on a protected 3rd line at wing.

    I have seen some who think Nurse should be a top 4 D. See how he does vs. Toews, Ovechkin or Stamkos. Should be a real confidence booster for Nurse. Not question he will be one day – but not now.