The tradition of the daily conference call continued yesterday when Connor McDavid took his turn to speak to reporters about how he’s been doing while quarantined, his teammate Colby Cave, and what’s to come for the NHL.
This past week has been a scary one for the Edmonton Oilers family as news broke on Tuesday that Colby Cave had been placed in a medically-induced coma as a result of a brain bleed. Surgeons at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital removed a colloid cyst from his brain and now we’re forced to wait for further news on his recovery. When asked about it to start off the call, Connor McDavid was undoubtedly shaken by the whole thing.
“All the fans out there, everyone just needs to keep Colby, his wife Emily, and the entire family in their thoughts and prayers. Just send out good vibes for them. It’s all we can do, we’re all stuck inside. We can just think and pray that he comes out of this, and pray that the family can get through it a well. I can’t imagine how hard it is on them as well.”
I know when I read the news, there was definitely a feeling of helplessness that crept in because there’s really nothing we can do but send him good vibes and hope for the best, a statement echoed by McDavid.
“Obviously it’s devastating, Colby’s a guy who is so well-liked in our dressing room. I’m sure he’s been well-liked in any room he’s been in. He’s such a good guy.”
It goes without saying that everyone is hoping for another update to let us know he’s made progress.
“You just pray that he wakes up and the family is okay.”
Nothing else you can really say. We’ll all be keeping the Cave family on our minds until he can battle through this thing.
During the call, McDavid also talked about him and his teammates donating $100,000 to the Oilers Entertainment Group as a means of helping the community start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is something that has been in the works for a long time. We wanted to do something right away. It’s gone a little slower than we anticipated.”
I know some people were upset about the amount or that it took a while for the money to come through, but the way I look at it, these guys didn’t have to do anything at all but they did their generosity should be commended. Full stop.
“Everyone wanted to be involved. We just had to work out the logistics of getting the money and how we were going to do that, which was the slower part. It’s important the Oilers are contributing to the community. Obviously, Alberta and Oil Country is suffering.”
Oh captain, my captain.
ON THE WORKOUT VIDEOS
Earlier this week, Connor McDavid and Gary Roberts released their first home workout video for kids and the media want to know what it was all about. Personally, I think he made them just for me because he knows how much pizza I’ve been eating, but that’s a theory for another day.
“The idea came from Jeff Jackson, my agent. He called me very early on and he’s got kids that are a little younger and need something to do and were sick of playing video games.”
I know you guys are saying these videos are for kids, but you’re also concerned about us bloggers that are doughing up in the mid-section, right? Frankly, there are a lot of us that aren’t doing much moving around right now, and
“Hopefully, kids are doing it and finding a way to stay active at home.”
Yes… kids… of course. *continues with pushups and wall-sits just as Connor told me to do*
THE DRAFT BEING POSTPONED
Late last month, the NHL announced that they would be postponing the NHL Combine, Draft, and Awards, and when McDavid was asked about it, he was able to find some humour in the situation.
“I was actually joking with my friends that they’re lucky they don’t have to do the combine.”
Listen, you don’t have to tell me about it, I’m still gassed from the children’s workout in the last section.
“But obviously, they’re going to be missing out on a lot. But it is what it is — there are a lot of people missing out on a lot right now. It’s obviously a little bit of a different situation for them but it is for everyone else as well.”
Once again, Connor McDavid has the wisdom of a centenarian trapped in the body of an elite athlete. But my favourite part about this chunk of the interview came when Connor was asked about his own draft experience that started with a nationally televised lottery special. You remember that night don’t you, Connor?
“It was a long day and there were so many different possibilities. It was kind of the only time where you can picture yourself on 16 different teams. We ran the mock lottery 100 times that day and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Ah, yes, the ol’ draft simulator. I know it well. Around these parts, that baby got us all through many a sad spring before you showed up. The Nation has gotten #MakeItFive trending across the country on two separate occasions, and both of them came after you got here. You know what I mean?
“If I were to do it over again, I definitely wouldn’t have gone into the studio. It was something we were hesitant on originally and it turned out to be for a good reason. It was going to be an emotional time no matter what team was picked and obviously Edmonton was one of the possibilities. We were surprised but people thought I was upset and made a big deal about that, which wasn’t the case at all. We were more in disbelief than anything.”
So what you’re saying here is that the body language experts are all full of shit? Hmm… never would have guessed.
“If I were to do it over again, I definitely wouldn’t have gone into the studio.”
Oh, you mean it was annoying to have hockey fans from everywhere telling you exactly what you felt in a split second moment that was captured on live TV? Weird.
As we’ve seen in every pre-season since the beginning of time, the boys are going to need some time to get back up to speed if the season is miraculously able to get going again, especially after being trapped in their houses for months. With that in mind, Connor was asked about what it’s going to take to come back after this long of a hiatus.
“I’m a guy that doesn’t take much time off the ice at all. Maybe a couple of weeks, but obviously going through the injury this summer, I was off my skates for probably three months. It’s looking like we’re going to be in that type of a situation here so maybe I’ll lean on that experience a little bit.”
Even with that experience and the gym in your house, it won’t be easy to get yourself into playing shape when all of this is over, right?
“It’s always tough when you’re off the ice for a while and you’ve gotta come back because you can’t really replicate the type of cardio that you need to play hockey, and you can’t really replicate skating at all. You can run as many stairs, or do whatever on your spin bike, but you can’t replicate it at all so it’s important that we get the guys back on the ice as soon as possible and make sure that everyone has the time they need to get back up and running and make sure that it’s safe to return to play for everybody.”
Obviously, the NHL will want to make sure that everything is safe before you guys step back on the ice, but what happens if that means jumping straight into the playoffs? What about the bubble teams that are likely to lose in whatever playoff plan comes through?
“I’ve said it in a zoom press conference I did a couple of weeks ago that the fairest season is a full season.”
I mean, yeah, of course. The problem is that I think there are going to be a bunch of NHL cities that are nowhere near ready to play anytime soon, ya know? Neutral sites? Maybe. Maybe the owners need to lease an island like Dana White is doing for UFC fights.
“It’s looking more and more like that might not be the case as this moves on, but there’s lots of time. I know guys are preparing to possibly play in the summer.”
I just hope we get to watch you guys play again this year, ya know? Even then, what’s it going to look like? Do we get thermometer lasered in the forehead before we walk into Rogers Place? Am I still allowed to wear a jersey that I haven’t washed in years? It smells like playoff beers!
“Guys just want to play, so whenever that is — we don’t know.”
Feels like it’s already been a lifetime, to be honest.
“It’s dragging on and it’s wearing on me and it’s wearing on everyone. I think that we want to get back to regular life as we know it as soon as possible, but at the same time, we want to make sure that we’re taking care of everybody. Health and safety is paramount right now so we all have to do our part to fight this thing together.”
Finally, friend of the Nation and humanity in general, Reid Wilkins, asked how Connor is handling the mental side of what’s going on in the world right now.
“Mentally, it’s tough, but it’s tough for everyone. That kind of makes me feel better, knowing that we’re all in this thing together. It’s not just one person stuck inside. It’s everyone. This is where you lean on your family, your friends, and all your loved ones.”
Couldn’t have said it better, Connor. We’re all in this thing together.
THE FULL CALL
As always, I only grabbed a few items discussed in McDavid’s 13(ish) minute conference call so there is still plenty left to get to if you’re looking for a way to kill a little bit of time.
PREVIOUS CONFERENCE CALLS
- Ken Holland
- Darnell Nurse
- Oscar Klefbom
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Alex Chiasson
- Leon Draisaitl
- Dave Tippett