Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid talks season expectations

Connor McDavid was at the 2017 Power Edge Pro Camp earlier this week and he took a minute to talk about what he expects for the Edmonton Oilers heading into next season, and what he needs to do to improve his own game. As always, I’m here to break it down. 

After making the playoffs for the first time in a decade, no one has to explain to Connor McDavid that there will be increased expectations for his team heading into next season. The Oilers won’t be able to steal wins because the other team underestimated them or came to work hungover because they knew they could get away with it.

Edmonton won’t be able to fly under the radar and sneak up on teams to steal wins like they’re some kind of sports version of the Pink Panther—they’ll need to earn the points and it’s not going to be easy. Being a playoff team means that each game matters and the Oilers will have to head into every night thinking that they’re going to leave with two points. Connor McDavid summed up nicely:

“One season doesn’t make a career.”

How’s that for a quote? Dude friggin nailed it. When asked about last season, all Connor wants to do is look forward and it’s that kind of drive that is going to move NHL mountains. The guy legitimately seems like he couldn’t care less about winning one round last season and I love it. You take the lessons you can and you move on. Lucic talked about swagger last summer, and I have to say, no one does the big dick swing better than the captain.

When asked if anything has to change in order to take another step for the 2017-18 season, Connor doesn’t seem to think so:

“Nothing should change. Even in my first year when we weren’t a great team, we still believed in ourselves and still expected ourselves to win. Now that we have the year under our belt, we’ve been a playoff team, had some success, we still have that same mindset.”

The Oilers really do seem like a tight knit group, and that bodes well for future success, but they’re going to need more than a positive attitude to keep the train rolling. With every step forward they take, there are going to be plenty of teams trying to throw obstacles in their way to try and derail the win wagon from progressing.

“The only thing that is going to change is teams aren’t going to play down to us.”

That’s kinda like what I was saying. A team won’t be able to pull off a late one in Vegas because they know they’re playing an Eakins-era Oilers team anymore.

“Teams aren’t going to expect a bad game. They’re going to expect a good hockey game and we have to be ready for it.”

Isn’t it still weird to think of the Oilers as a good team? They were so bad for so long that this whole “good team” thing seems foreign to me. It’s almost like I’m living outside of my body and watching some alternate universe where the Oilers are good. It still doesn’t make sense but it sure is beautiful.

On getting better…

While Connor spent his second season putting the league on notice and cleaning house at the NHL Awards, he knows that there is still room to improve in his own game. It’s almost weird to think that he can (and will) get better, but that is exactly what he’s trying to do and I wouldn’t be against him.

“You definitely want to keep your game well-rounded, but there are areas you can get better at and shot for me is the first objective.”

Improve your shot? Excuse me for a minute while I look for looser pants.Make it a laser guided missile from hell. Ohhhhh, that’s good. Become an even more deadly assassin. Mmmmmmm yes. What else do you want to do, Connor? Tell me.

Connor with a better shot? Oh my. I hope he turns that thing into a laser guided missile from hell. Can you imagine it? Mmmmmmm. Become an even more deadly assassin, Connor. Yaaaasssss. What else do you want to do, Connor? Tell me.

“Being solid in your own zone, being a good faceoff guy, those are things that are all important as you go deep in the playoffs.”

I don’t know about you guys but I honestly can’t wait to see how good Connor is going to get. When he says he wants to improve on his all around game I believe him, and when your captain is as dedicated to improvement as McDavid is then the rest of the team better follow suit or they’re going to bumping ass down the road. Having him work hard is going to make it tough for his teammates to get lazy and that’s a magical mindset.

The most important thing is that the Oilers can’t be satisfied with a second round exit and I’m sure as shit that that message will be repeated to those guys over and over again. With Connor as their captain I think that there are going to be a lot of motivated players to make sure this this ship keeps sailing. While the Oilers were able to end the playoff drought, just making the dance shouldn’t be anywhere close to being a finish line. These guys are Cup hunting, right Connor?

“That’s obviously the goal.”

You’re Gord damned right it is. Let’s go get one, buddy.

  • OriginalPouzar

    McDavid’s mentality re: working on the “deficiencies” in his game is similar to the attitude that Crosby has had over the years.

    I look forward to seeing if Connor is able to do what Sidney has done – pick an area to improve and do it – smart money would be on him accomplishing the task.

  • Hockeyfan

    If Mccheese doesn’t get hurt, If Talbot repeats last years heroics, If Dripsaddle can carry his own line, we may make the playoffs, being a 1 manboy NHL welfare team. The window is now, after my contract kicks in, the window pretty much shuts.

    • Randaman

      How are things under the bow bottom bridge or do you live under the foot bridge at the zoo? That would make more sense when I come to think of it. Closer to your intelligence level, no? Have a good weekend loser

    • madjam

      Connor might reply with two songs for Pacific division rivals . Runaway – by Del Shannon , and Catch Us If You Can by The Dave Clark Five . ” Run , run, run ,run runaway ” and “here we come again ,catch if you can “.

      • TruthHurts98

        Someone needs to make a video of Celine Dion singing I’m your lady to Gaudreau clips. Then when she sings “And your are my man” show clips of Connor lighting up the Flamer goalies and making Gio and Brodie look like the Oiler defense of old.

    • DerpSolo

      If johnny hogwash recovers from a terrible season, can Travis hammock and mike smut stay healthy for more than 50 games, if doodie Hamilton can repeat last years production and can Matthew tchotchkes not be utterly useless. Have fun straddling for a wildcard spot whilst Oilers battle for a division title

    • Oilerz4life

      Your contract?! If you are refering to McDavid’s contract, any team in the league (including Calgary) would gladly pay more than what Edm has him locked in for, long term. As the salary cap rises, that contract is going to look sweeter every year, so enjoy that. Enjoy the fact that the Oilers have their arena figured out as well, while the roof caves in on your rickety old barn. Calgary is years behind.

  • Hemi

    Name calling the players by the flame fans is just too funny, childlike but still gives me a chuckle! The next great one, just like the last great one, plays for Edmonton. The BOA is on and just like the previous golden version of the BOA, the Oil were the better team then and are the better team now. As much as the 5 Cup to 1 Cup is always a go to, the gap will increase as the years progress. Bless you Cowtown for being the perpetual favourite team (albeit the Laffs run a close second) that the Oil will always take enormous pleasure of handing your “second place status” to you over and over and over.

    Let the games begin! BOA is going to be a dandy!

      • TriPPiNvdUb

        Can not wait till the puck drops on opening night and then all this offseason back and forth can stop between fans and we have something tangible to sink our teeth into. Its clear to many flames fans that we are the underdog in this fight but not by much, Oil have clearly the best player on earth and a solid core to surround him with but don’t be fooled, we aren’t all that bad either. Flames will need to rely on playing a solid 60 minute team game and even that wont be enough to completely stop McD, but if our 3rd line comes to play and we can ice 3 strong scoring lines we may find the advantage further down the line up…

        BOA is finally back and Alberta can hold its head high again in the hockey world. Good luck guys!

  • FISTO Siltanen

    What happened to the “let’s make the playoffs and see what happens; we might win a game or two and maybe even a round” players? Seemed the Oilers I grew up with embraced this philosophy more times than I would have hoped for.

    I like this mentality a hell of a lot more.

  • TruthHurts98

    Mike Smith is Elliott 2.0 when Connor and Leon step on the ice. I feel sorry for their delusional fans that are going to have to continually look more idiotic when the Oilers show them what a real team looks like. Tkachuk turtles and covers his face when Looch, Hattrick Maroon or Kassian want to drop the mitts. I look forward to him getting ragdolled this year.

  • Oilerchild77

    The Flame trolls are understandably jealous. I mean, we would be too if they won the lottery and were winning playoff rounds.

    But I just love how they always try to spin it like everything the Oilers have accomplished the last 2 seasons was 100% luck. The real reason for the success is Peter Chiarelli and his ability to recognize what the team needs and find the right players, then make the tough decisions to change what needs to be changed. Yes McDavid isva huge part of it, but without the other deals PC made to change the makeup of the roster, they’d still he a lottery team, and we all know it.

    • HOCKEY83

      With over 20 million tied up in just 2 players The Oilers will have to do what Chicago has to do every season and turn over a supporting cast of ok players every season to play with McDavid and Draisaitl. What happens when Talbot is looking for his 8 million or Klefbom and Larsson are looking for their 6 mil per. Gauranteed Maroon actually thinks he’s a great player and will want to be paid as such. I’m an Alberta hockey fan and think both team at the moment are awesome but the Oilers have put themselves in a horrible cap position for the next decade. Good lucky signing anymore real talent. After they sign Draisaitl where will they be getting the money to sign the 11 UFA-RFA players on the roster next season. Good luck with that.

      • Oilerchild77

        The cap will continue to inch upwards because of inflation. Yes, there will be challenges, but that’s what it takes when you have two of the greatest players in the world on your team. Players want to play for teams that have a that kind of talent, and many will accept a little less to play there. As far as the players you mentioned,

      • Nick Khron

        Hahaha “the Oilers have put themselves in a horrible cap position for the next decade”. They have one contract that is close to that length and it’s McDavid, so you’re saying that either it’s a bad situation to have a player like him or Chiarelli completely crapped the bed with the negotiations. Can’t fathom how that’s your stance on this.

        • DerpSolo

          The Oilers also have much better chance of winning the cup. All teams would have paid the same for McDavid. While we will rely on McDavid to bring us a cup, have fun relying on mike smith

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I love McDavid’s game on the ice, and as great as it is I’m regularly more impressed by the man’s game between the ears. This guy lives and breathes hockey sense.

  • HOCKEY83

    Amazing how Mcdavid was so easily figured out and shut down in the playoffs last season. Hope that doesn’t happen again this season. Seems if you put a little over the top playoff pressure on him he folds like a cheap lawn chair. Who cares how many personal trophies you win during the season if you’re not gonna show up for the playoffs.

    • Nick Khron

      Either you’re a troll or you evaluate poorly, so I’m not sure there’s a point to respond but how do you possibly form this assumption from one playoff run? You don’t understand hockey player history?