It’s Two-Connor Time
Photo credit:Eerie Otters
2 months ago
While the top end of the line-up Jay Woodcroft has pencilled in against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place tonight doesn’t include anybody who has to earn a roster spot, it will provide us a look at what his top two lines will look like to start the regular season. In the case of the top line, it’ll be a first glance.
That’ll be the trio of Evander Kane on the left side with Connor McDavid at centre and Connor Brown, a teammate of McDavid with the OHL’s Erie Otters, on right wing. We know Brown’s story – he missed all but four games last season with an ACL injury and surgery to repair it – so this will be our first chance to see him in something resembling game action.
“He’s known as a dog-on-a-bone worker bee that goes and gets pucks for other people,” Woodcroft said of Brown. “I think, at his best, he has underrated offensive skill. He can make a play. His work ethic shouldn’t be the only way we describe him. He’s somebody that has good skills. We’re going to see if there’s chemistry in-game action tonight and go from there.”
“Brownie, he obviously hunts pucks,” Kane said of Brown. “He’s quick down in the corners and elusive and I think he can definitely add to Connor and I. I’m looking forward to seeing how things work tonight . . . I’m sure he’s excited to get going tonight and we’re excited for him.”
After sending a line-up distinctly light on NHL players to Winnipeg the other night, Woodcroft will give us a look at Leon Draisaitl playing between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the left wing and Zach Hyman against the Canucks in the Oilers third pre-season outing. We’ll also get a first look at Stuart Skinner in goal.
For a guy who had a modest 202-game NHL career, former ham-and-egger Paul Bissonnette has turned himself into quite a brand in the years since hanging up his skates after the 2016-17 season in the AHL with the Ontario Reign.
With 1.2 million followers on Twitter, a high-profile gig on the Spittin Chiclets podcast with former Oiler Ryan Whitney and a contract extension to be on TNT’s hockey panel beside Wayne Gretzky, Bissonnette, 38, has it going on. Most recently, Biz was front and centre in the Mike Babcock phone scandal that led to him parting ways with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bissonnette dropped in on the Kevin Karius Show on Sports 1440 this morning and that was as entertaining as you’d expect. He’s a very interesting guy and sharper than he lets on. Give it a listen if you’ve got time. Here’s some snippets that caught my ear.
WHAT HE SAID
On Babcock and second chances: “I’m a second chance guy . . . hey, if he went away for four years and learned his lesson, got better, and understood you need to communicate with these kids on a different level, well then, hey, give him a second chance and we can all move on. But the fact that he’s doing this when he gets reinstated before we even hit pre-season, we’re in banana land here if we think this is normal, right?”
On being a Big Deal: From a fourth-line peasant to being buddies with Wayne Gretzky, it’s a whirlwind. I hope I did a good job of explaining it, but it doesn’t make sense to me either most days. I’m just very blessed and very grateful it worked out the way it did.”
AND . . .
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