McDavid and Brown: Connor Two Times
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
While re-visiting the time when Connor McDavid and Connor Brown played together with the Erie Otters a decade ago makes for a nostalgic stroll down memory lane, what they accomplished as teenagers doesn’t mean much to the Edmonton Oilers today.
Here and now, what matters is if and how well Brown can come back from a torn ACL in his left knee and surgery to repair it that kept him out of all but four games with the Washington Capitals last season. Can Brown, now 29 and a veteran of 448 NHL games, regain the form that’s seen him score 20 or more goals twice in his career? Will the knee hold up?
If it does, Brown, who signed a one-year deal with the Oilers for the league minimum of $775,000 on July 1, will receive an additional payment of $3.25 million once he reaches 10 games played. If it does, GM Ken Holland has a bargain and McDavid has a right winger suited to his talents, just like old times.
Fans got a glimpse at some of the what-ifs and possibilities last night as Brown scored his first two pre-season goals and added an assist. McDavid checked in with a four-point night in a 7-2 waltz over a roster of mostly AHL players in Calgary Flames uniforms at Rogers Place.
FITS LIKE A GLOVE
Oct 4, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor Brown (28) and Calgary Flames forward Samual Honzek (42) chase a loose puck during the first periodat Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Brown scored the 2-0 goal with his first on a feed from McDavid on a one-timer from the high slot. He made it 5-2 with his second from the side of the net after McDavid snagged a loose puck and one-handed it to him. Brown played 19:25 and didn’t look like somebody coming off a season lost to injury.
“I think the message sent to Connor Brown when we sat down in the summertime and chatted on the phone or in person was we had an idea what his strengths were,” coach Jay Woodcroft said. “We were going to try to complement him with players that brought out those strengths.
“We think that he can be a very important player in our forward grouping, but we were going to be patient because we didn’t know how his injury would respond. He put in a lot of work, especially in the summertime, to ensure that he was feeling good heading into camp. I think we’ve managed him in the right manner. I think he’s going to fit our team like a glove.”
That’s high praise coming from the coach who’ll oversee Brown’s return. The bottom line is what we’ve got here is a player in Brown who arrived in town looking for a place to re-establish himself and a team in the Oilers that needed a right winger capable of playing alongside the best player on the planet.
“It might be more fun now,” Brown said when he was asked about playing with McDavid again. “I mean, he’s everywhere. And when he’s on his game like that and he’s got puck on the string, it’s fun to be out there with him . . . it’s been nice to be able to have this camp and get some games under me and build.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
After four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, three in Ottawa and last year’s campaign in Washington with the Capitals, it’s not lost on Brown that there’s considerable opportunity here beside his former Erie teammate on a team that’s a Stanley Cup contender. It’s not about looking back but ahead.
“I’m loving it,” Brown said. “I think the passion that this city has for their team and what this organization, what this team, means to the city, it’s felt in this room and it’s felt in the organization. It’s such a storied franchise. The guys that have come through this room, it’s an honour and a privilege being here.”
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