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‘I don’t care about the stats, I just want to f–king win’ Edmonton Oilers defenceman Vincent Desharnais talks about Connor McDavid’s drive to win

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Woz
By Woz
7 months ago
Connor McDavid’s role as a leader in the NHL isn’t one that we’ve often heard about. The Edmonton Oilers captain doesn’t allow his emotions to get the best of him in post-game interviews and he addresses the media stoically.
But on a recent edition of the Sick Podcast, Oilers defenceman Vincent Desharnais opened up about some of his experiences playing alongside McDavid. On the show, Desharnais detailed one game where he made a mistake that cost the Oilers a goal in the playoffs.
“I don’t know what happened, There’s a play we got scored on and I could have probably stopped it and Connor got dash one, we all got minus one,” Desharnaris said. “And so after the game, I went to see him and I’m like ‘Hey man, sorry that was a bad pass on me. That dash one is on me. I’m sorry dude.’ 
“He turned around, looked at me and he was like ‘dude I don’t care about the stats, I just want to f–king win.’”

For Desharnais, the response was one that took him aback, but also one he said motivated him to work even harder.
“I’m like, ‘alright, got it captain’ you know, I was like that’s awesome. That’s what I want to hear, I was so fired up.”

Desharnais himself has had a long journey to get to the NHL as had to work through the ranks within professional hockey. He began his career with Providence College before being drafted by the Oilers in 2016. After that, he spent three more seasons with Providence then took the jump to the ECHL with the Witchita Thunder. After that, he found a home with the Bakersfield Condors for two seasons and partway through last year earned a recall to the Edmonton Oilers. 
It’s there where his game began to hit another level. 
But long before that, a concussion suffered in his first pro season sent him into a battle with anxiety and depression. 
“My first pro season, I got a concussion. It ended up lasting longer, developed anxieties, started having anxiety attacks, started being depressed, which led to depression,” Desharnais said on the aforementioned podcast. “I wanted to quit hockey. Wanted to quit on life, pretty much. I didn’t want to be here anymore.
“At some point, it was either I go in the same direction, and it goes dark, or I get over my ego and the stubborn guy that doesn’t need help, and that’s what I did. I got over my ego and went to get help. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, honestly. I’m so glad it happened, and I’m so glad that I went through that depression and learned to deal with anxiety. I’ve learned to deal with life. Life happens every day. You don’t control life.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Desharnais talked about the things that were key to him on his journey with mental health. He said that adding healthier habits such as meditation, reading, and most notably journaling has helped him keep his head clear. It’s a practice that he does to this day and mentioned it helps him a lot even after tough games. 
Desharnais drew in for 36 games in the regular season scoring five assists. In an additional 12 playoff games, he added two points. He is expected to battle for a roster spot with the Edmonton Oilers and is looking to improve upon his breakthrough season.

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