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Connor McDavid: Whatever it Takes

“I felt my leg slam into the metal post and thought it was in two pieces. I was terrified to stand up…wondering if my career may be over.” – Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid: Whatever it Takes follows the most physically and emotionally challenging offseason of Connor McDavid’s career. This documentary is the remarkable comeback story of one of the NHL’s best players after what could have been a career ending or altering injury.

A world-class medical team, led by Mark Lindsay, supervised McDavid’s gruelling rehabilitation program which combined advanced sport science and imaging technics with Connor’s sheer will to overcome, allowing him to return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup for the 2019-20 home opener. McDavid not only came back, but is faster and stronger than ever and having the best season of his young career. McDavid enters the 2020 All-Star break leading the NHL in scoring, and has his Edmonton Oilers in the hunt for 1st Place in the Pacific Division.

On April 6, 2019 the Edmonton Oilers played their final game of the season against their provincial counterparts, the Calgary Flames. Having already clinched 1st Place in the Western Conference, the Flames looked to close out an exceptional season and carry their momentum into the playoffs by beating their long-time rivals. For the Oilers, on the other hand, the narrative was flipped. Another disappointing season was coming to a close and with the team on the outside of the playoffs looking in, nothing but pride was on the line. 

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Connor McDavid intended to end the season on a high note and was determined to help his linemate and friend, Leon Draisaitl, reach the milestone 50-goal mark for the first time in his career. The pair were buzzing that evening, generating chances on every shift.  In the second period of a tied game, Connor attempted one of his patented end-to-end rushes. Using his tremendous speed, McDavid gained a step on the league’s reigning Norris Trophy winner, Mark Giordano, and cut hard to the net. In a desperate attempt to slow McDavid, Giordano dove to knock the puck off his stick, tripping Connor and causing the unthinkable to happen…

“Our fear for Connor, throughout his career so far, is he’s going too fast.” – Gary Roberts

McDavid slammed into the Flames net at over 40km/h. His left knee took the brunt of the impact, lifting the net off its moorings and causing Connor to clutch his leg in obvious pain. In that moment, every single person watching the event – live or on TV – froze in disbelief.  All eyes were on Connor and the concern for his well-being took priority. Teammates Zack Kassian and Leon Draisaitl came to Connor’s side immediately. Opposing goaltender, Mike Smith, urgently waved over the medical staff. Connor was helped off the ice by trainer T.D. Forss and the audience was left with nothing but the words he uttered while laying on the ice, played over and over in the media in the days following the incident…”I think it’s broken”.

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After multiple medical opinions to assess the injury to his left knee, it was confirmed that Connor had suffered a completely torn PCL, tears to both his medial and lateral menisci, a completely torn popliteus muscle, and tibial plateau fracture. The extent of the injury was extensive and on this, everyone agreed.   Where the various opinions differed was on what the best course of action was.  One of the high regarded orthopedic surgeons believed that Connor definitely required reconstructive PCL surgery and that he should do it as soon as possible.   Other of the expert opinions believed that rehabbing the injury without surgery was the route to take first. At only 22 years old, Connor McDavid is forced to make a decision that would impact not just the rest of his career, but the rest of his life.

“They pay me $100 million dollars to play my game. Part of my game is beating guys wide and going to the net. I’ll have to give my money back if I stop doing that.” – Connor McDavid

This split-second crash would set into motion the most advanced non-surgical rehabilitation ever attempted with a star athlete. With help from Dr. Mark Lindsay, Gary Roberts, Jeff Jackson, Darryl Katz and a team of physiotherapists, radiologists, orthopedic doctors and coaches, Connor McDavid went down an unknown path with the goal of returning to play for the Oilers’ Opening Night. Using the latest in imaging technology and rehabilitation techniques never tried or tested before, McDavid and his team would embark into the unknown.

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This press release was written and provided by guest author Shane Fennessey.

Watch the Trailer Below!

Connor McDavid: Whatever It Takes” is a Don Metz film, produced by a team including Metz and Pollyanna Hardwicke-Brown, Adam Scorgie, and Shane Fennessey among others, and is a collaborative effort with Connor McDavid’s team.

Featuring

Connor McDavid

Brian and Kelly McDavid

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Dr. Mark Lindsay

Dr. Anthony Mascia

Gary Roberts

Jeff Jackson

Bob Nicholson

Ken Holland

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Dave Tippett

Zack Kassian

Mike Smith

Mark Giordano

…plus more

The broadcast schedule for the documentary is as follows:
Friday January 24 on Sportsnet, immediately following the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Saturday January 25 on Sportsnet at 4:30pm, going into the NHL All-Star Game.
Tuesday February 4 on SNE/SNO & SN1 at 6:00pm, going into the Edmonton-Arizona game.
Wednesday February 19 on Sportsnet at 5:00pm (leading into Bruins @ Oilers)