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McDavid’s post-game interview was tough to watch

After last night’s loss to Vegas, Connor McDavid was doing his captainly duties and answering the media’s question about what went wrong when it was brought to his attention that the Oilers had officially been eliminated from the playoffs. As the title of this article expresses, his reaction to the news was tough to watch.

If there’s one thing we know about Connor McDavid after four years of watching his wizardry, it’s that he is a player that desperately wants to win and anything less than that is unacceptable. Considering the year McDavid has had, along with career highs set by Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, you’d think that the Oilers would have had enough juice to make some noise in the Western Conference but, instead, the only stir they’ve caused it due to shock at how this team is still so bad despite having the best player on the planet on its roster. And if I’m being honest, it’s fair to wonder how the hell that happens. So when Connor was asked for his thoughts on the Oilers missing the playoffs again, you could see the annoyance all over his face.

To get the full effect of just how disappointed Connor was, I encourage all of you to watch the interview that I put in at the end of this article, but I wanted to pull out a few quotes that really hit me. When asked about the year, Connor described the situation aptly.

“It’s been an insane season. Coaching change. GM change. Good times and bad times. It’s been a roller coaster. It’s been emotionally challenging. It’s been hard mentally to keep on going, but we were always kind of right there. We were close and then we drifted away. That’s the way it goes.”

I think back to nights against Ottawa and New Jersey that the Oilers should have won and can’t help but start to add up the wasted points that McDavid is talking about. I think back to the run of three or four games in December when the team had leads going into the third period but couldn’t manage to get anything out of it. The list goes on and on.

“We don’t even have a GM, so I don’t think we’re in any position to comment on next season. We have a lot of crap to figure out. I hope we can put the right man in the spot and we can put together a good team.”

I honestly felt horrible watching the interview and seeing the disappointment draped across Connor’s face and it was obvious that he wasn’t in the mood for hiding it. Think the guy is frustrated? Well, he was asked about it.

“It’s really high. It’s really, really high. It’s frustrating. We want to play in the playoffs as a team. I personally want to play in the playoffs. I’m not happy about it. It’s going to be a long summer.”

A long summer indeed.

Watch the video here:

I honestly don’t know what to say other than to apologize to Connor for the fact that this franchise has disrespected the first part of what will be a Hall of Fame career. To put it another way, the Oilers had better get their shit together because they’re toying with disaster if they think that a player of McDavid’s calibre is going to stick around forever while they try and figure out how to pull their heads out of their own rear ends. Think I’m wrong? Look at the guy’s face.

    • SSB1963

      Just a few facts to ponder. The great Mario Lemieux never made the playoffs in his first four season either. Then they made it in his fifth (lost in 2nd round) and didn’t make it in his sixth, then won it all in his seventh. Granted I don’t believe the Penquins were quite the dumpster fire the oilers are proving to be.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Unfortunately, from the owner on down, the Oiler execs are too arrogant, tone-deaf, narcissistic, entitled, narrow-focused, incompetent, and just plain stupid, to even give Connor’s comments a second look. They know a little bit about winning. D Katz had better rent a pair of stones to do what needs doing. Bobby Nicks and go fun a Five Guys franchise. All of the bloggers and commenters on ON could see this coming from a long way away, yet the Red Wine Club dithered and dawdled the past two seasons away while the greatest player on earth wonders what the heck is going on. This is his hint Katz – you are going to lose him if you don’t grow a set. Better yet, sell the team to someone who actually gives a crap about something more than money. You don’t deserve him or the fans that line your pockets.

  • TKB2677

    I didn’t find the McDavid interview hard to watch, I found it refreshing. It needed to happen. To me it shows McDavid is evolving as a leader of this team. Before he would talk about missed opportunities, needing to find more consistency as a team, HIM needing to be better. Him being honest for a change and saying it was a hard year for him needed to happen. Him being honest and saying THEY meaning the whole organization need to figure things out, needed to happen. McDavid doesn’t need to get better, the whole organization needs to get better.

    There are players in that room that need to take a LONG, LONG look in the mirror and figure out their crap. Enough with the half assed efforts and dumbass mistakes. Time to be better.

    The whole organization needs to take a long, LONG, LONG look in the mirror and figure out their crap. This especially needs to include the owner who needs to decide, do you seriously want to win or would it just be nice to win because there is a difference. If you are serious about winning then things need to change. Change means guys need to lose their jobs. Who ever is involved in pro scouting, the guys who are watching players, the guys who are putting this data together and anyone involved in deciding who to either trade for or sign, should all be gone. They are not picking the right players to go after.

    • Derian Hatcher

      @TKB2677 – you make good points…but what if those you suggest take a LONG, LONG, look in the mirror and think they are doing a good job, and that’s the problem lies, not with themselves, but elsewhere (like the “water”)? I think that’s what has happened here for years. “I am not part of the problem, I have several Stanley Cup rings”, or “I ran Hockey Canada for years. look at all the medals we won” ? Or “I am a billionaire, and I drink and eat with my heroes. And they LIKE me, they actually like me”.

      Everyone has seen the problem for years. It has been identified, analyzed, talked about by everyone but those that make decisions. It is sickening to think that one day Connor will want out. And who could blame him? If / when that happens, the OBC will be standing their, mouths agape, wondering what just happened. Fools!

      I should really stop commenting – I’m way too negative.

      • hagar

        Its human nature to think others are the problem until someone makes you know it’s you.
        Every company in the world with a horrible manager or CEO would get ran into the ground if ownership/stock holders didnt intervein and remove an incompetent leader.
        You would think they would become self aware, but it’s not usually the case. They truly believe they can make the team good, the proof they cant doesn’t compute.

        • Derian Hatcher

          I once had a boss who would walk into a meeting an present his ideas. He would then say “I’ll be back in an hour – tear my ideas apart and tell me why this will, or will not work. Add your won ideas and solutions” Man he was a great boss. He got it.

      • TKB2677

        @ Derian – I hear your concern and I share that same concern. When it comes to management, there are probably a few guys who have been there a while who think exactly what you said. They may think that if only someone listened to them, things would be different. You keep hearing that Chia was this island and didn’t listen to a lot of people. I have a hard time believing that no one else had input but maybe it’s partly true. I have no clue. To me it doesn’t matter.

        But at the same time, when does self preservation kick in for a guy even like Nicholson? He says he’s the boss and ultimately incharge of things and took ultimate responsibility of what has happened. Great. He says Katz, his boss is pissed and wants things to improve. I have to believe that at some point, even for Katz, while I know he is the ultimate super fan and likes the old Oilers around, at some point just being the Oilers owner gets old and he would want to win rather than being a laughing stock. Part of the allure of being an owner of a sports team is to be part of an exclusive club. These guys have big time egos. So even for the ultimate super fan, it can’t be fun to meet up with all these owners year after year and have your team as a joke. So you have to think the pressure is on Nicholson to turn this around. No one wants to get fired. Getting fired is embarrassing. So at some point even Nicholson has to look at how things are going, look at who works for the Oilers and come to the conclusion it’s just not working. The guys in power, especially the ones involved on the pro side – scouting, trades, signings – aren’t working out. So if he wants to not get fired, you’d think he’d want to swap out some guys just to save his own ass.

    • Spaceman Spiff

      This is an excellent take. The right one, in fact. I found McDavid’s not-quite-a-rant-but-close-enough to be quite refreshing. It was exactly what was needed to be said, at the right time, by the right guy.

    • slats-west

      From a previous post about who the Patriots look for:
      – players that have all been leaders or captains throughout their career
      – players that have faced continued adversity and how they dealt with it (not always won but made adjustments to be better)
      – how they viewed their teammates in private and public (are they
      – how do they play or perform when the cameras are not on (first off the ice after practice? offseason starts in May or August?)
      – etc etc
      Character. We lack in players because we lack it in leadership. We let an idiot like Chia run free with no checks and balances. We replaced high performing grit players (Cagulia) with empty cheap shot artists that were going to be put on waivers (Manning).

      Katz ………Your water is making this team and this City sick!

  • Axe

    If these post game comments don’t get katz to take some action asap to get rid of the OBC and bring in some real hockey people then I don’t know what will.. The shine of the new arena is starting to wear off.. Some fans were still ok watching on their TVs and in person because of mcdavid. Katz is seriously playing with fire if there is not an immediate and complete overhaul.. I don’t wanna claim to be Nostradamus but if mcdavid is sitting here next year around this time explaining what went wrong on another oiler season the odds of him staying are not gonna be great.. And I honestly think this changes the parameters of the GM search a bit in my mind.. We are gonna need someone who can make immediate and drastic changes to the line up.. This can no longer be a two or three year project.. Playoffs next year are a must!!!

  • Spydyr

    Fast forward to the draft at the table are Mac-T, Howson and the tired old bunch of scouts. Katz’s kid goes up and they announce the next Oiler with big smiles on their faces like the accomplished something.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Tough to watch? Nah. Rather, it was the kick in the pants this organization needed, from the guy with the sharpest boot.

    I know nobody on here is going to want to hear this or read this, but … take a breath everyone. It’s always darkest before the dawn. It’s pretty damn dark right now.

    What makes me say this? Well, it was one of the little “factoids” that’s come out the last couple of days. The Oilers, as we all know, have “earned” the distinction of having two 100-point players, while missing the playoffs. Only two teams have done that. The 1987-88 Nords and … the 1990 Penguins. It’s the latter team that caught my eye.

    The Pens went out and drafted Jaromir Jagr that spring and away they went. Won the Cup a year later and another one a year after that. But in the course of a calendar year – from spring 1990 to spring 1991, they went through a LOT of flux – probably more than the Oilers need to go through. Not only did they have to live through Mario’s first major injury of his career through much of the regular season (I think it was his back?), they traded away long-time nucleus guys like Rob Brown, Dan Quinn, and Zarley Zalapski. They traded John Cullen, one of their leading scorers. They brought in Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelson and Larry Murphy. They brought in Bryan Trottier. And yeah, they drafted Jagr.

    Then there’s the moves they didn’t make. Believe me when I say there were players on that Penguins roster you’d never believe played in the NHL. Rod Buskas. Phil Bourque. Randy Gilhen. Troy Loney. Jim Johnson. Gordie Roberts.

    And then there was Tom Barrasso. Great goalie, but one of the NHL’s all-time jerks.

    Of course, the Penguins got some good old fashioned luck in 1990-91, too. Kevin Stevens, Mark Recchi and John Cullen were like found-money in 1989-90 and that made one of them expendable at the deadline a year later. Paul Coffey was, well, Paul Coffey. And, as we all know, Jagr turned into a superstar before our very eyes.

    My point is, the Penguins made some moves, ignored some other moves and things broke their way. I’m not convinced that the Oilers need to make as many moves for things to break their way very quickly in a year or two (probably not a Cup next year, but I don’t see how the playoffs are out of reach).

    It’s doom and gloom right now and it’ll be a long summer, but probably a busy spring. I’m looking forward to it, to tell you the truth. And if it takes some public admonishment from McDavid to make it happen, so be it. I can watch that clip all day long if lights a fire under everyone. I think it will.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        You’re right. There wasn’t. But it was also on the eve of full-on salary disclosure by the NHLPA, and there wasn’t really much “unrestricted” free agency going on, either. Players didn’t move around very much and salaries were, more or less, kept low(ish) by what, in hindsight, was a lot of wink-and-nod collusion between owners and management. In other words, there was a different kind of “salary cap.” And believe me when I tell you … it was marvelous.

        Don’t get me wrong. The Oilers’ problems right now are unique to this era and are only solve-able with solutions that are unique this era. Contracts will need to be bought, buried or dumped on other teams with the lure of a draft pick or a prospect or a roster player. Other players – a goalie, a winger or two, and probably a defenceman – will need to be brought in. Other players will need to be sent out – some of whom we may have a lot of sentimental attachment with.

        But my point is still my point. If the Penguins can go from fourth-last in the league to winning the first of two consecutive Cups in 12 months, then surely the Oilers can get to the playoffs a year after being eliminated from them with three games left in the regular season.

        Put it this way: If you don’t believe that … then why are you an Oilers fan?

        • Hemmercules

          We don’t believe it because the Penguins had a luxury the Oilers don’t have: A competent owner and Management. Until one of those two improves we are doomed. Maybe it happens this summer. If they sweep the management team, add some depth scoring and don’t have half their dance injured for most of the season they have a wild card shot next year I think. At least 3 years away rom being any sort of playoff threat if everything goes right.

          • OilerForLife

            100% correct if anybody here thinks we will have a playoff team in the next three years, they are dreaming. Once the purge happens and Nicolson must go for hiring Chiarelli. Even the OBC club must have rolled their eyes when Reinhart and Lucic became Oilers. Even a novice hockey fan knew that was a mistake. Chiarelli should’ve got the boot right there as ridiculous as that would be, but oit would have been the right move.

          • Spaceman Spiff

            As for ownership, I’m not sure I agree with you. Neither Ed DeBartolo nor Howard Baldwin were top-flight owners in Pittsburgh during their Cup runs in the early 1990s. Katz wouldn’t pale in comparison. They definitely had a better GM in Craig Patrick, though. I will say that. But there are guys out there who would approximately his equal on the market right now. He wasn’t a miracle worker. He was competent. The Oilers, I think, are going to finally find competence at long last … thanks to McD’s words last night.

            And … none of the challenges you mention sound particularly insurmountable over the next 12 months. Again, I’m not talking Cup. I’m talking playoffs. The Oilers are going to miss the playoffs by around nine points. Hell, if they get a healthy year out of Klefbom and Sekera next year (assuming they’re both still around), that might do it right there.

            Don’t allow yourself to get swept up in the fever-swamp of negativity on here. There are McDavid/Draisaitl reasons to be optimistic. Hang in there.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      This year has been an improvement in that the Oilers are normally out of the playoffs by American Thanksgiving… Frankly, I’m surprised that we lasted to the last week of the regular season…

      • cityofchampions

        We were only “in it” because of an historically bad bottom end of the western conference……and we are still going to miss by 10 points or so. In a normal year we would have been completely out of it around the all-start break. We’ll have to improve by 20 points or so to be in the playoffs next year.

  • elliotsmom

    This organization is disgraceful and should be ashamed of themselves. They seriously need to make a clean sweep of everyone in the management. Now is the time for the hermit, Katz to come out of hiding and get rid of all of his old friends and start running the team like a GD business. I would imagine that Drai and Nuge feel the same frustration as McDavid.

  • blobbo

    I don’t have the stomach to watch the interview. They should show the man compassion and offer him a ticket out. This isn’t about the Oilers, it’s about the game and for him to remain will be a travesty.

    If I had any faith in this organization, I could see a return similar to the Lindross deal that resulted ultimately in a powerful Avalanche team. With this organization’s record, though, they would trade him for a ham sandwich and last week’s pizza.

    • BobbyCanuck

      That would be a fun article, I hope the fine writers over here pick it up, Kinda like the mailbag questions

      Question: If McDavid demands a trade this summer, which teams and what players from said teams would return an acceptable return for trading the potentially second greatest player of all time?

  • Billsbills

    I can’t watch it. I feel so bad for him. How anyone still has a job with the OEG is beyond reason. Katz is the leader and since he bought the team in 2007, it has been a laughing stock. He needs to take a good hard look at the organization he has and decide if respectability of the Oilers brand is more or less important than giving old buddies jobs.

    I am sad and disappointed again. But I am trying to avoid the negativity. The problem is there are so few positives that I end up ignoring the entire team I love. Apathy is becoming the norm. That’s a dangerous place to be. The fans are going to leave.

  • Big Boss

    I’ve watched the interview 4 times and nowhere does he say

    “We don’t even have a GM, so I don’t think we’re in any position to comment on next season. We have a lot of crap to figure out. I hope we can put the right man in the spot and we can put together a good team.”

    Was this a comment he made off camera?

  • Datsyukian

    It’s about time the mainstream media started using the language that Baggedmilk used in his last paragraph. If OBC was trashed regularly on national and local media, maybe they would start caring.

  • Serious Gord

    If the org doesn’t start showing at least something close to the desire and determination to win as mcdavid does he’s outta here. Continuing the old boy ethos will guarantee his exit.

  • You just got LITT up!

    I think he’s already checked out. I don’t think McDavid will stick around for a rebuild, which is what must happen. How the Oilers are this bad and have no cap space is mind-bottling.

  • Schmidt Head

    If Connor McDavid were to walk out on the team right now and not reappear until opening night next year…… no phone calls, no interviews, no training camp, NOTHING!……. he’d probably get a bad rap for it and perhaps, deservedly so. But he might just be doing US the biggest favor anyone’s ever done!

    Just imagine; Katz, Nicholson, Lowe, MacT and all the other buffoons running this excuse for a team, having to spend SIX FULL MONTHS trying to explain why the best player in the world walked out on them because they can’t get their acts together!

    Then, he shows up on opening night… with a vengeance!!…. and says “I’m ready to play and I’m ready to win…… Are YOU??” “You’d bloody well better be because if you’re not….. I’m OUTTA HERE!!

  • OilerForLife

    I’m at a point to not reading any more comments at Sportsnet anymore it just hurts too much. Nicolson should not be hiring the next GM. He has zero experience in managing pro hockey. We lucked into Keith Gretzky and he should run the draft table, because it’s the main thing that is working. We have a good core of players, but because of the cap problem we will have trouble keeping everybody. Chiarelli may have sunk the Oilers. The next GM will have to let a few more players(hopefully not McDavid) or other core players go over the course of Lucic contract, but if the new GM gets at least equal value in assets the Oilers can tread water until it’s over. I can’t see the Oilers fielding a playoff team until the cap mess clears over. They can’t get desperate and make moves that screw the future anymore. The Oilers are going to need our support one more stretch of time or we can kiss our franchise goodbye. Try to be part of the solution and not the problem.

  • Oiler Al

    When the Oilers were gifted the most talented player to ever lace on a pair of skates in 2015, very quickly the call was made[probably by Orr] “make some changes, or Connor will not show up in Edmonton.Changes were made within a week.Problem is that the “Dumbies” in charge went after the first two guys that were sitting on the curb after just being fired for being incompetent!No search, no interviews etc.The rest is history.
    THE SAME DUMBIES ARE STILL THEIR ,UNABLE TO FIX THE MESS.!!
    Sorry, but this team does not deserve McDavid, until Hermit owner comes out of his shell and fight for the good of the team in the same manner and effort he did to gain the property and new rink he leeched from the public.
    Do the right think Mr.Katz.The old jock straps have lost their lustre and Burger Bob as long been lost at sea.

  • Lazarus

    Look at his face? Yeah Exactly. I’ve been saying that since he watched the Golden Ticket come up Oil Drops. Conner isn’t stupid, he knew this was the worst outcome on that day and he isn’t stupid now.
    His look isn’t just dissappointment at this season..it is because he can see there is little chance of him being in the playoffs again this time next year.
    No goaltending, rubbish D. 3 players up front, no currency, salary top heavy..oh yeah clock is ticking on Conner and the organization ahead already p!ssed 4 years away

  • T&A4Flames

    Heard on Edmonton sports radio yesterday that Nicholson wants to interview Gillis but the rest of the higher ups said no. Jesus, it’s just an interview. He should interview everyone he can robget some insight on the team, the league, the players. This management group can’t get out of their own way.
    I get it Mike Gillis would likely be another disaster if a hire, but it’s just an interview.

  • A-co

    If I was him I couldn’t get away fast enough from this joke of a franchise…katzs shiny little toy is losing some of its shine…I can’t wait for him to ask for a trade this summer…good for him for being pissed….it’s getting tough to be a fan of this team

      • Lazarus

        Ah who.am I kidding, the place will be packed next year again and we can do this all over..again. Can’t wait!! Always enjoy the unbridled hope of.October in Edmonton and the big promises and predictions..and the the funeral dirge starting to warm up in December..right around Christmas

  • Odanada

    The players have no faith in management.
    The coach has tried everything he can think of, but it’s bigger than him.
    Management is a full diaper and Katz is too cold to care.
    The oppressive pall that hangs over this outfit is a soul sucking disgrace.
    It’s just like a funeral where nobody dies.

  • OilCan2

    Connor McDavid = first class dude = youngest Captain EVER NHL. Note to Darryl: please get the right GM & POHO this summer while Connor practises toward perfection.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Was a little surprised McD acted like he just found out they were mathematically eliminated in that interview. He should be aware of that going into the game, no? I found that odd.

  • Alan Smithee

    Listen to all of you…
    “Ohhh, Connor’s going to leave…better watch out!” Let me tell you something, he’s a big boy and a professional, not a bitc#y whiner. Any of you who are whining and moaning that he’s going to walk out better pick you balls up off the floor because you seem to have lost your stones. Dude’s like McD don’t walk away from problems, they are part of the solution. No wonder our world is such a sad state…it seems to be made up of a bunch of pissy whiners who want to run away when things get tough. Sheesh…grow a pair already!

    • Lazarus

      I wonder what another great whiner Whine Gretzky would have done if he showed up to such a miserable first 4 seasons and 1 playoff appearance.
      We will never know as his teams never missed the playoffs once.
      Conner is going where no Oiler has gone before…interesting times people!

    • camdog

      With this Executive Group the solution might be trading Connor…If it the battle is between Nicholson/the Old Boys and McDavid who’s perspective is Katz likely to take? Just like Gretzky everybody and anybody is tradeable.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Thanks for the lecture Alan…but winners do not hang out long term with losers. Ever worked for someone so incompetent that you left? This is no different. All he wants is decent players who care as much as he does. Connor has accomplished more than most of us in his young 22 years and perhaps the other way to look at this is not through bitc#hy whiner glasses, but someone with high standards for himself and those around him. When he looks around him in the organization, does he see solutions coming? Does he see people with “stones” ? Does he see the bar set exceedingly high? Does he see an organization with a plan, with vision? Or does he, like most here, see an arrogant organization that continues to wander in the desert with a slobbering mess of incompetent executives? And and absent owner fan-boy who is hiding under his millions? At some point enough will be enough.

      All the power to him for speaking up while Nickelson orders water tests.

  • greenbayman

    I’ll challenge any one of the 4 stooges to resign, which one if any would have the balls to take me up on the challenge, hopefully all 4 take the challenge because we all know that Katz does not have any to fire them.

  • CMG30

    I lost interest in the games around Christmas. On occasion, I would still tune in for maybe a period to see McDavid play, but in reality I was done. Actually I was done after the very first game of the season with that atrocious effort, that giant middle finger to the fans. In fact I was pulling my hair out before the season even began because of the stupidity of our former GM who had us up against the cap with a roster shot full of holes and papered over with question marks. It was obvious to almost everyone that this team was not built to compete in the NHL. The only way this team was going to get any kind of traction was if the players threw on their work boots and grabbed their lunch buckets and through shier effort got it done every single shift. With all the dumb trades where we sent away talent so we can bring in ‘character’, I figured we’d at least have a hard to play against team. Well that was wrong too.

    This organization has a long way to go to redeem themselves and the people in the suits who’ve got the most to prove.

  • Kneedroptalbot

    “Playoffs, your talking about playoffs?” I just want to win a damn race to the puck once in a while…
    Lucic, Brodziak, Reider, Kassain…lets go…Mush Mush