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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Can we talk about Connor’s goal from last night?

Last night, Connor McDavid went superhuman in the season opener against the Calgary Flames and I want to talk about it. Specifically that second goal.

I don’t think I need to tell you this but I’m going to anyway — Connor McDavid is really good at hockey. Not only is he amazing, the guy is lightning on ice and the Calgary Flames saw that first hand on his second goal of the night. How fast was he going? Sportsnet had him clocked at up to 40km/hr. That is ridiculous. I don’t think I would even be able to keep up with that on a bike. The guy is so fast he would have gotten a speeding ticket in rural areas and the fact that he can make plays and finish while going that fast is almost incomprehensible.

How is a defenceman supposed to defend against that? The answer: they can’t. Let’s take another look at the goal.

Let’s take another look at the goal.

There are a few parts of this thing that I want to touch on because it really is amazing. First, let’s look at when Connor picks up the puck in his own zone. After swinging down low to grab the loose puck in the corner, McDavid was off to the races, which also happens to be the moment where the Flames would have been just as effective had they laid down and cried.

Right after McDavid picks up the puck in his own zone, Michael Ferland is basically with him neck and neck. He’s in a decent position to make a play but, as it turns out, no spot is a good spot against Connor. In a matter of a couple strides, McDavid vanished like Keyser Soze. Frankly, from where I blog, there wasn’t even really much point in Ferland backchecking because he had about as much of a chance at catching Connor as I do of scoring with Miranda Kerr. It wasn’t going to happen and he actually looks silly for trying.

By the time McDavid gets to centre ice, Ferland is chasing his shadow and TJ Brodie is likely shitting his pants. Most impressively, Brodie was already skating forwards towards his own zone and Connor still torched him. This wasn’t like he had to pivot and chase, this was a foot race that he had no chance of winning. I can’t help but wonder what Brodie is thinking at this point? If I was to wager a guess it was probably something like “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

When I was a kid, I had a No Fear shirt that said “If you can read this you’re losing” on the back of it and that horrible joke was all I could think about at this point. In this scenario, Brodie = Loser and I think even he would admit that. As for his d-partner, Hamonic, I didn’t realize how slow he is but he wasn’t even in the ballpark of being able to catch Connor. I mean, he was on the ice but not at all a factor. If anything, I’m jealous of Hamonic’s vantage point as he had one of the best views in the house for this beautiful goal. Have I mentioned how fast Connor is? Seems worth repeating at this point.

This is my favourite part of the video. Look at Brodie swinging his stick in a last ditch effort to try and make something happen defensively. The only thing that was missing from this one-handed prayer was to have him actually throw his stick at the puck and call Connor’s mom because he wasn’t playing fair. Honestly, this whole sequence looked like when a Pee Wee player brings out their older brother onto the ice for practice and he spends that hour making the kids look stupid. Making pros looks dumb is what Connor McDavid is doing at the NHL level and he’s doing it with a frequency that I’ve never seen before.

I love how Mike Smith does his best owl impression as he tries to track the puck when it’s already behind him. A little bit more and he could have twisted his head clean off his neck. Even though Smith played relatively well, he had no answer for McDavid and having the puck end up in the back of the net after this play seemed like the only possible outcome. Beautiful isn’t it?

For the “league’s best defence” there wasn’t really much push back on this one. I guess they’ll have to look for another upgrade. But as my friend, Chris the Intern, said last night, “this is Connor’s world, we’re just living in it.

THE SEASON LAUNCH PARTY

We’re trying to raise as much money as possible for the victims of last Saturday’s attack in Edmonton and we could use your help. Tickets to the Season Launch Party are on sale now for $30 and will remain on sale straight through until the date of the party, or until they sell out — whichever happens first. Your ticket will also enter you into all of the draws for NationGear prizes and the jersey giveaways that will happen throughout the night.

  • Where: The Pint Downtown
  • When: Saturday, October 7th starting at 6pm
  • Why: Because we’ve got a hankerin’ for some partyin’
  • How Much: Tickets are $30 with net proceeds going to the victims of last week’s attack in Downtown Edmonton
  • How: Tickets are available here
  • Can’t make it but want to help? Grab a ticket online and we’ll ship the swag bag to you!

For each ticket you buy, you’ll get one of the exclusive season opener t-shirts (shown above), a $10 Denizen Hall GC, a card for FREE perogies and tacos for a year at the Pint, $10 Oodle Noodle GC, a Nation sticker package, and, most importantly, a chance to kick off the season with your Nation brothers and sisters.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    Unreal speed. The amazing part was his little flip to himself at the end so that he could raise that puck up high shelf….all the while never even glancing at the ice.

  • tkfisher

    How does one man make an entire team of world class defensemen look like they’re playing hockey with their grandfathers rusty dull skates that are two sizes too big for their feet? Like Brodie, I’m still in shock.

    • That's My Point

      Where did this idea that fLames have good dmen come from? I wouldn’t trade one Oiler dman for any fLames dmen straight up. Is it stats like Corsi that state they’re good on paper only and NOT on the ICE where the game is played? I think their defence is worse than last year where they were 14th out of 30 teams in goals against. (Oilers were 8th best last season and look like they’ll be even better than that this year)

      • The Ghost of Alex Plante

        I’m all for bashing the Flames, but this is just ridiculous… you’re telling me you wouldn’t trade Gryba for Gio, Hamilton, Brodie, Hamonic… hell I’d even trade Gryba for Stone

        • Dan 1919

          Your analogy was just ridiculous Ghost. Compare apples to apples. Klefbom for Giordano, not a chance… same point production, I choose a younger more upside Kelfbom, and quite honestly, probably better at straight up defending than Giordano.
          Larsson for Hamilton, again I don’t make that trade. Larsson is hands down way better at defending, Hamilton puts up points sure, but past Oilers have proven you need defence to defend, forwards should be used primarily for scoring(revolutionary idea).
          Brodie for Russell, yes edge goes to Brodie although Russell is still a solid defenceman, first one for Flames.
          Hamonic for Sekera, Sekera is better and that trade doesn’t happen either.

          Nurse or Bartkowski, I take 6’4” 221 solid playing Nurse for the bottom pairing.
          Benning or Stone, both good puck movers, edge to Stone for experience but considering this is the bottom pairing and Benning is 23 and Stone is 27, I would stick with Benning.

          I’m not saying the Oilers are the best D group in the league, I’m saying the Flames aren’t as good as they think they are, and the Oilers are a lot better than they get credit for.
          The Flames finished 15th of 30 teams last year, they’re not the best at anything, sorry if you were mislead.

          • The Ghost of Alex Plante

            ‘That’s My Point’ is the one who said “I wouldn’t trade one Oiler dman for any fLames dmen straight up.” So no, my analogy was not ridiculous, considering my ‘analogy’ is exactly what That’s my Point is saying he wouldn’t do. His post wasn’t saying “I wouldnt trade the oilers #1 dman for the flames #1 dman”.

            I agree with your analysis but that’s not what the original comment said. The original comment wasn’t comparing apples to apples. Why should I have to?

          • That's My Point

            I wouldn’t trade the Oilers defence for the Flames defence. More upside to the Oilers and I personally think they are also currently better than the Flames defence. Is that better?

        • serlio

          LOL sometimes this comment section confounds me:
          Original comment: “I wouldn’t trade one Oiler dman for any fLames dmen straight up” -tkfisher (gets cheered for making an obviously ridiculous statement)
          reply: “I’m all for bashing the Flames, but this is just ridiculous” – Ghost (gets trashed for making an obviously reasonable statement)
          reply to the reply: “Your analogy was just ridiculous Ghost” – Dan (gets cheered for agreeing with Ghost while simultaneously declaring he disagrees with ghost)

      • Rock11

        Then you sir are a fool. While I don’t think they are the best in the league by any stretch each of their top 4 could comfortably play inside the Oilers top 4. They are all clearly better than #4 and probably Benning as well. Lets not forget how much everybody here wanted Hamonic. Now he’s terrible cause he’s wearing red? Is Cgy’s D overrated? Yes. Awful? Not even close.

        • Dan 1919

          Who cares about these linguistics better than this number or would all be top whatever on a team. Look at the players, they’re just a solid core. All better than #4, what’s that mean. Larsson, Klefbom, and Sekera are all better than Hamonic. Flames fans always take their D comparisons and sadly skew them to make them look better. Fact is they’re just a good defensive group on paper, nothing amazing(that apparently is having trouble executing)

        • CMG30

          Yes, Oilersnation wanted Hamonic but when the ask was Klefbom, or a first round pick the answer was NO! Seems like Treliving just watches eastern media and throws money at the current player of the week.

          • Joy S. Lee

            I haven’t seen Hamonic play that much, but giving up a first and two seconds for him seemed like a grand overpay for what is supposedly a good defensive defenseman who brings a little bit of offense. Not saying he’s not a good addition, just that those kinds of picks usually equate to a star player coming back the other way, that’s all. Chiarelli didn’t even give up that much for a starting goalie (Talbot).

    • Hemmercules

      A normal man would have run over Smith there at full speed. Conner stops on a dime and barely touches him. Leaving only an ice crusted C on Smiths chest.

      • TruthHurts98

        Not if the refs put the whistles back in their pockets and let the dead puck era continue. But 50 in 50 is possible perhaps if everything aligns perfectly. 50 in 39 would only be possible if playing the Flames every night lol.

      • 1ncinawhile

        You know, I used to agree with that statement. But I’m beginning to wonder if McDavid is just that guy. Seriously, how many A grade chances does he get per game… SEVERAL. As he learns how to cash in on his many breakaways, I am starting to wonder if he won’t be able to tally quite the number of goals. Plus, the way the refs seem to be calling things this season, perhaps we see a return to some higher scoring hockey? I know Connor isn’t going to be scoring 3 goals per game… his talent sure makes one wonder if it’s possible though!!

    • TruthHurts98

      I was amazed at how he settled it down going over 40 kmp/h and still roofed it. No other player in the league will come close to that, Smith played it as well as he could. And still got covered in shaved ice from Connor as a thank you. That will be one of the top highlights all season.

  • Roberto

    After last night, I want to see Leon and McDavid on the same line the majority of the time…. McDavid is way faster than anyone, and after last night, seems like he’s much better than Crosby or anyone else in the league… Leon is a Wizard, he and McDavid just feed eachother no matter where the other one is on the ice, and things seem to happen every shift. Maroon is almost the perfect linemate as he stays out of their way, battles for pucks, mixes it up with the other team and ensures no one goes near McDavid. Nuge might yet have a long term future with this team… He is sound defensively, can play against anyone, and allows McDavid and Drai to play toghether and dominate. If the Oilers can just be a solid team, an even plus minus team when McDavid is not on the ice, no one else in the league has a chance… I think, especially with the Hall and Ebs trade, that this team is built entirely around Connor… Everyone else just play a sound defensive game, and Connor will win it for the Oil.

    • ricardo2000

      Draisaitl is a monster. The calgary d-men pushed but it didn’t unbalance or move him much at all. That first line can’t be shoved off the puck. Maroon is fast and arrives, it seems, just after McD.

    • J.R.

      Good call. With the game well in hand or on the odd night when it makes sense you can always move Leon down to center the second line.

      ….and yes, Draisaitl is a beast. Anyone watch him keep Getzlaf at bay with one hand in the playoffs? Deceiving strength and passes like someone we know really well from back in the day.

  • TruthHurts98

    The Flames are still talking about it too. As for us Oil fans, I still wonder how we got so lucky?!?! I’ve watched that goal over and over. Connor has no ceiling and this is going to be a very special year!!!

  • 40km/h on that goal doesn’t matter if it was Drew Doughty or Colton Teubert there, you’re basically reduced to a pylon once McDavid hits his turbo button. Remember he’s only 20 years old, just imagine how fast he’ll be when he’s 25 or 26.

  • tkfisher

    This what they’re saying at Flamesnation – “Roughly an 80%+ CF when facing them (McDavid vs 3rd Line). So I’ll just say this again: the Flames signed Jagr for multiple reasons. Helping create offence was one. Making the third line that much stronger was another, because it needs it.” – And their answer to McDavid’s speed torching the 3rd line is 45 year old Jagr? McDavid will step around him like a Ferrari passing a 1993 Astro Van. Can’t wait to see how that plan of theirs goes ;D

  • Jordan88

    Play by Play of third goal:

    Lucic killed a Flame,
    Draisaitil Selflessly passed it up, McDavid from Draisaitil sounds just as good as Drai from McDavid.
    McDavid then freezes Hamonic, and in that moment Travis contemplates why the islanders didn’t take Eberle for him. Meanwhile in the dark corners of Rexall Chiarelli smiles in the most evil genius way.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Check out flamesnation for a laugh. All they can do is call him lottery boy and talk about how their team sucks after an entire off season of “best defence in the league”

  • Hamonic also had most excellent views of goals one and three. Just saying.

    TJ Brodie is one of the best skaters in the league, and he got posterized quite a few times, which is somewhat shocking. The non cashed breakaway in the first minute by McJetpack was similar, as Brodie was fine, lost his gap, pivoted and got roasted like toasted oatios in the span of three 97 strides. The insane thing is, once McDavid got by he started gliding to set his feet for a deke and was still pulling away.. from one of the best skaters in the league.

    The game reminded me a bit of the one versus the Pens last year, McDavid was the show and the only thing that kept it from being a complete blowout was absolutely stellar goaltending by the opposition as every time he had the puck, it was heading for pay dirt at Mach Connor.

    AND….. the ice was trash….. AGAIN. Like give this kid a sheet worthy of his talent yah freaking cash grabbing buffoons.

  • Spoils

    I didn’t see that goal because my eyes already exploded from that second goal in Saskatoon when he knocked it out of the air too. kidding, i wouldn’t miss a mcdavid shift if you paid me.

    So he beats you with or without his speed…

  • Probably the key is being able to push the puck ahead 10 -15 ft knowing that no one will catch up anyway, and give himself those extra 2-3 strides without the puck. Staples did a column on that technique at Cult of Hockey back in his draft year, and it seems that now McD has it fully dialed in at the NHL level.

  • Gretzky talked about how McDavid is pioneering a move only he can pull off right now. Which is the soccer style push the puck up and chase it yourself. He does it so he can gain more speed while controlling the puck at the same time. He does it here on the second frame, and if you watch him closely, he does more push off the puck then come back to it than stickhandle. I saw him do it last year so many times, and I remember him torching Victor Hedman of all people in the World Cup with that same move. No one has mastered this move yet, except for him. That’s amazing

  • Petrolero

    Hamonic was pretty much at center ice when connor took off from his own end, still couldn’t get tot he net in time. I just can’t tell for sure if Hamonic was being lazy, or Connor was just so fast he made him look like he was skating on mud. As for Smith, loved how he closed his fifth hole and looked down as the puck passed him by on top of his shoulder

  • Jack Dupp

    The “leagues best defense” couldn’t stop the leagues best player. You’ve gotta think the rest of league let out a collective “f@ck” at that moment. No one will ever be 99 but this kid is doing his best to emulate him… at warp speed.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Great article. I had the same reaction to the goal, right down to wondering what Brodie’s mom could say to console the poor guy. Watching as Mr Smith freezes down on his kneezes as he tries to stop McJesus was icing on the cake.
    McDavid’s the only player in the league who can regularly threaten to score against the opposition from his own goal line.

    It’s going to be a long year in Cowtown.

  • thenoble1

    I see a lot of flames bashing…… I love my Oilers and I have from the very beginning and it was not appreciated when everyone bash the Oilers especially over the last 10 years but here we are a much better team now but all’s I see are Oiler fans bashing the flames. I certainly didn’t enjoy it when we were humiliated so I would like to suggest to everyone….learn from McDavid and be a lot more humble. Respect your enemies and of course… enjoy the game.