Over at Sportsnet, Shawn McKenzie spoke to Connor McDavid at the BioSteel Camp about everything from Oilers 2017-18 expectations to contract negotiations to his excitement about working with Leon Draisaitl to build something beautiful.
As we all know, Connor knocked his sophomore season out of the park with 100 points and a trip to the playoffs, but how can he get even better? When asked if he’s doing anything different to build off of last year’s century season, he said:
“You can always change things, but, for me, I’ve stuck with what I’ve done for the past few summers. I’m lucky to be surrounded by some great hockey minds and training minds.”
So no changes, huh? No new breakfast foods? Not even new sheets or something? Give us a scoop here, Connor.
“Why change if you’re surrounded by the best?”
Fair enough. I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without getting tired so I’m going to take your word on this one. I’ll just go on assuming that you’re working way harder than I ever have and leave it at that.
On the Oilers using last year’s success to motivate them…
While we fans know that making the second round of the playoffs doesn’t land anywhere close to a finish line, it is interesting to hear what the players think. I want to know whether last season’s playoff mini-run was just as much a tease for the players as it was for the fans.
“This year was only a little taste.”
Mmm… Yes, Connor. YES. Tell me that you want more than just a playoff appearance. Say it slowly, sexy.
“It made everyone hungrier and wanting to go further.”
Mmmmm… Tell me more about this year. Tell me more.
“The way the city responded makes coming back exciting and fun. Everyone is looking forward to getting back and trying to make the playoffs again.”
And we’re looking forward to having you guys back! The city is 58% sexier when the Oilers are in town and I don’t think anyone would argue against that. It’s science. You wouldn’t argue with science, would you? Of course not.
On the Oilers being a Stanley Cup contender…
As he’s probably been asked hundreds of times this offseason, Connor was probed about whether or not he feels that the Oilers are Stanley Cup contenders. From where I blog, he nailed the answer.
“I’m not going to comment on that.”
But why not, Connor? Teach the people.
“We know we have a good team – we showed that last year – and it’s up to us to reestablish ourselves.”
Agreed on all counts so far. Go on.
“Realistically we still haven’t done anything in the league. We made the second round and that’s great, but that’s not what hockey is about.”
Ah… They haven’t won anything, he says. That’s what I’m talking about. I love seeing the captain acknowledge that making the second round of the playoffs ain’t shit in the grand scheme of things. Win or GTFO right, Connor? Horse before cart — all that stuff.
“It’s about winning and we have a long way to go to do that.”
YES! I’ll take this kind of real talk over the “we think we can make noise” drivel that’s been spewed around here over the decade of darkness. Making the playoffs is one thing, but winning it all is the goal. Be still my heart.
On his contract and Draisaitl being signed for eight years…
One of my favourite things on the planet was the tinfoil hat saltiness from other fans about the Oilers being unable to sign McDavid to a long term deal. Remember the lottery day? There were all kinds of theories that he didn’t like it here, and body language experts that were certain that he was going to bail on the city that drafted him. Now that he’s locked up for the next nine years, Connor McDavid admits that he’s happy to not have to worry about it.
“I’m never jealous of the guys that are going through all the media stuff when it comes to contracts.”
Media stuff? What ever do you mean?
“I’m close with Stamkos – I train with Stamkos – and watched him go through that last summer… I was not jealous. I think that it’s not very fun and can wear on you, so I’m happy not to deal with that.”
Wait a minute… What pressure did Stamkos go through? There was definitely no hype around his signing so I don’t know what he’s talking about. OH WAIT THERE WERE LITERALLY 9000 ARTICLES WRITTEN ABOUT HIM JOINING THE LEAFS JUST BECAUSE HE WAS FROM ONTARIO. DO YOU MEAN THAT KIND OF MEDIA STUFF, CONNOR?!? DO YOU MEAN HOW PEOPLE FREAKED OUT WHEN STAMKOS LIKED A TWEET AND THINGS LIKE THAT?! Thanks for pushing him into our arms even further, Toronto. Pretty big of you guys to do that. LAWLZ.
When asked about Leon Draisaitl being back in the mix for the next eight years, McDavid wasn’t shy with his excitement.
“It’s so exciting that he’s back and there for eight years and I get to play with him for a long time and work together towards something great.”
When Connor is excited, I’m excited. Not to mention, how great is it to have these two guys locked in during their prime? Not only are Oilers fans excited, the NHL was even pumping our tires when they had both McDavid and Draisaitl in their list of Top 20 centremen. That’s the kind of one-two punch that can scratch the itch around here and I’m pumped to have them both locked in.
On the Oilers moving out of the league basement…
One of the biggest stories from the 2016-17 season was finally seeing the Oilers ascend from the league’s basement and make their triumphant return to the NHL playoffs. How did it happen? As always, Connor has the answers.
“I think what you’re seeing now is the product of some good decisions. We hired a great coaching staff, a great head coach, and a great GM.”
So what you’re saying is the old boys club wasn’t getting the job done? If so, say absolutely nothing at all. Cool. Got it. *taps nose*
“They’ve made some changes that have been ballsy changes but have definitely worked out.”
“What you’re seeing is a great collection of hockey minds that have put together a pretty good team, that are good people as well. I think that’s an important thing.”
I’m probably reading way too much into this but I do find it interesting that Connor mentioned the quality of the individuals that make up a team as well as their skill. For conspiracy loving fans like yours truly, these kinds of comments add weight to the idea that there was something off with the makeup of the team and that it had to be addressed. It’s either that or he just made an innocuous comment that doesn’t really mean much of anything. Either way works for me.
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