‘If it was a playoff game, he would’ve been playing:’ Oilers head coach offers promising update on Connor McDavid

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
23 days ago
A number of Edmonton Oilers players missed practice on Thursday, a day after the club beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1.
Connor McDavid remained out with a lower-body injury, and Sam Carrick, another forward, was also out. On the blueline, Cody Ceci was absent, with defenceman Troy Stecher stepping in in his wake.
And after practice, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch offered a promising update on his captain’s status.
“He’s day-to-day. If it was a playoff game, he would’ve been playing last night,” Knoblauch said, listing McDavid as questionable for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.
“He’s not in a wheelchair, he doesn’t have a boot on or anything like that. He is doing pretty good, and I think yesterday he enjoyed just being one of the guys and being able to enjoy the game, and not have the pressure on him.
“He was able to cheer on his teammates, participate in the celebration after the game. Obviously, I think he’d rather be on the ice, but I think this little time away, (he’ll) reset and fully healed and be good to go.”
Knoblauch went on to say that what’s most important is McDavid is ready to go for the playoffs, so any lineup choices through the rest of the regular season will keep that in mind.
In Ceci’s case, Knoblauch called his absence a “maintenance day” and said he “could’ve been on the ice.”
“We’ll decide tomorrow if he’s going to play or not. We got Stech, who we want to get into the lineup. We’re playing a back-to-back, we kind of planned he was going to play one of the two games.”
Carrick, Knoblauch said, was involved in a “bit of a collision” that left him a bit banged up but in good enough shape that he was able to finish Wednesday’s game and that he won’t be in the lineup Friday.
The Oilers have a busy finish to the end of their regular season, facing a back-to-back Friday and Saturday night against the Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks. The host the San Jose Sharks Monday, before taking a two-game road trip to close out their season with stops in Arizona, and Colorado.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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