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.