What a Night for McDavid
Photo credit:Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
Monday’s NHL Awards show in Nashville was a special night for a special player as Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers added the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award to the Art Ross Trophy and Rocket Richard Trophy he’d already locked up.
While it’s understandable a lot of people are perplexed and puzzled that McDavid fell one vote short of being the unanimous winner of the Hart for a second time because Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had him slotted in fifth on his ballot — which is worthy of a considerable degree of scorn in my opinion – let’s not lose the plot.
At 26, and with eight seasons already in the books, McDavid became just the fifth player in league history to win the Hart, Lindsay, Art Ross and lead the league in goals (the Rocket since 1999) in one season. So, even with the obvious piece of silverware that’s still missing from his trophy case, what we’re seeing with McDavid in real time is the greatest NHL player in generations, probably ever.
At the bottom line, that’s an embarrassment of riches worth keeping in mind in a hockey town that’s already claimed Wayne Gretzky, a gaggle of hall-of-famers and has five Stanley Cup titles. A bozo at the ballot box doesn’t change that – like many, McDavid considers the Lindsay Award the more prestigious honor because it’s voted on by players.
Now, about a sixth Cup . . .
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Jun 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid talks with members of the media after the 2023 NHL Awards at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
I’m not a big fan of awards shows, and the NHL awards come up short in presentation and production in my opinion, but the show-stopper for me was seeing the family of Ben Stelter, the brave little boy who passed away at age six last August after battling brain cancer, present McDavid with the Hart.
Dad Mike, mom Lea and sisters Dylan and Emmy flew into Nashville to make the presentation and McDavid didn’t know it was coming. That’s a moment I’ll never forget.
“It really was a surprise and obviously emotional seeing them there,” McDavid said. “Everything they’ve been through, we obviously miss our buddy Ben, but the Ben Stelter Fund is doing such great things keeping his memory alive.”
And while the biggest and most cherished prize, a Stanley Cup, has eluded McDavid to this point in his career, he’s trying to enjoy the journey along the way. That isn’t easy for somebody as intensely competitive and team-focused as he is.
“Certainly, it’s not lost on me what these trophies mean in the grand scheme of our game,” McDavid said. “To do it a number of times, it means a lot to me. Obviously, it’s not the motivating factor, but it’s special still. I know the five-year-old me would be upset if I was taking it for granted or something like that, because I’m not. It’s special.”
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