Off the Top of My Head: Connor McDavid hits 150, Jason Demers, and a Stanley Cup Prediction
Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Connor McDavid dispensed with the drama early in the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 waxing of the San Jose Sharks Saturday, becoming just the sixth player in NHL history to reach 150 points with a goal and an assist in the first period on the way to a three-point game as the Oilers recorded their seventh straight win.
McDavid became the first player to reach the milestone since Mario Lemieux did it in 1995-96 with an assist on the 1-0 goal by Ryan Nugent Hopkins and by putting the Oilers ahead late in the first period with the 2-1 goal on a rebound. McDavid closed the scoring with the 6-1 goal in the third period to reach 151 points.
McDavid is in very select company in The 150 Club, joining Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, and Bernie Nicholls. He’s already moved past Nicholls (150) and has an opportunity to overtake Esposito (152) and Yzerman (155) with two games left to play before the playoffs begin.
Only The Great One, who reached 150-or-more points nine times in his career (215, 212, 208, 205, 196, 183, 168, 164 and 163) and Lemieux, who managed 150-or-better four times (199, 168, 161 and 160), are out of reach. Numbers aside, McDavid’s teammates put together a video featuring the other members of The 150 Club offering their congratulations.
“I hadn’t put a ton of thought into it, then all of the guys kind of put a little video together of all the other five guys that have done it,” McDavid said. “It kind of hit me. That was special of them to do. To hear from all five was amazing.”
700 FOR DEMERS
Apr 8, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jason Demers (44) waves at the crowd after it was announced he is playing his 700th game during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
What a classy move by the Oilers to recall veteran Jason Demers from the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL so he could play in his 700th career NHL game against the Sharks.
Demers, 34, a draft choice of the Sharks in 2008 (186th overall), broke in with them during the 2009-10 season. All these years later after stops in Dallas, Florida and Arizona, he inked a PTO with the Oilers this season with 699 NHL games in the books and provided a veteran presence for prospects on the AHL farm.
It’s easy to talk about wanting to build a winning culture within an organization. Moves like this by the Oilers that show respect for the contribution and career of a veteran and a solid pro like Demers are how you actually do it.
“Ultimately, I want my name to be remembered in the history books of hockey and to be up there with the greatest of all time. You know, with the guys like Gretz and Mario and Bobby and there’s others that I’m missing out on. But for sure, that’s what I want. I think the biggest compliment in this game is to be known as a winner, right?
“You know, you look at Sidney Crosby, you look at Jonathan Toews, Gretz, all these guys, I mean, they’re winners. You’ve got to be a winner to be up there with the best of the best and ultimately, like I said, that’s where I want to be.”
— McDavid in Part One of a two-part Q&A with Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com. It’s worth a read. You can find it here.
BERGER LIKES THE OILERS
This prediction from long-time Fan 590 and Sportsnet radio man Howard Berger about the Oilers on his Between the Posts website:
“EARLY CUP PREDICTION: This is almost too easy. But, if Stuart Skinner can carry his rookie goaltending performance for Edmonton through the playoffs, the Oilers and Boston will clash for the 2023 Stanley Cup.” The entire item is here.
NEW GIG FOR DVD
A tip of the cap to Derek Van Diest, who is leaving Post Media after 27 years to write about the Oilers full-time for NHL.com. Van Diest got his foothold on the Oilers beat joining Terry Jones and I during the Stanley Cup run of 2006 and he’s been at the rink – and also doing fine work covering soccer — ever since.
AND . . .
As I mentioned two weeks ago, John Garrett, 71, of Sportsnet is headed for retirement after decades behind the microphone and he’s going out the same way he came in – having a lot of laughs and enjoying every minute. Garrett’s final game is this Thursday. Well done, Cheech.
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