“Who Are You?” Returns. First Guest: Connor McDavid
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Jason Gregor19 days ago
A few seasons ago I started a feature called Who Are You? The main focus was talking to players about non-hockey interests. There might be one or two hockey questions, but the rest will be about other aspects of their life. I haven’t written one in a few years due to COVID, but with the rooms re-opening I decided to bring it back.
And our first guest this year is Connor McDavid.
Jason Gregor: You’ve had a lot of things beside your name, but never NHL leading goal scorer at this point of a season isn’t one of them. How has it been being a goal scorer?
Connor McDavid: (Laughs) It is fun scoring goals, obviously, but at the end of the day we’re just trying to contribute and win games. My job is to create offense anyway that I can. For the most part it’s been making plays and assisting on plays but this year I’ve been scoring a little bit more which is always nice.
Gregor: Last year you went to the Conference final, you had some team success, closer to what you want. Are you hungrier now or are you more relaxed because you know more about the process?
McDavid: That’s a good question. Obviously when you get close you get hungry for it. I think we are all pushing for the same goal, and obviously that’s to win. At the same time I think we understand they’re not handing out anything in the next little while. We’re trying to build our game and put our game where it needs to be and get it where it needs to be, and that being said you need to win these games, otherwise you don’t get very far. Everything plays into it, but at the same time, maybe trust in the process a little bit more and enjoy building our game. It hasn’t been as pretty as we would like, it has been a bit of a grind but I think we are finally starting to get to a point where we are seeing a little bit more of our game from last year.
Gregor: Outside of hockey, what does Connor McDavid like to do for fun?
McDavid: In season there isn’t a ton of time. There’s not a lot of time and for me just any time I get to be home relaxing is great. I love spending time with my dog, taking him for a walk, catching up with my family, stuff like that. Being home and being able to relax and just kind of get away from the game is always something that I love.
Gregor: You’re talking to a guy who was a grade seven, eight and nine, Leduc County 400m Champion (McDavid laughs). So, what did you win that wasn’t hockey related?
McDavid: (Laughs) When I was really young in elementary school, I was a long-distance runner. I did really well in cross country areas every year. Areas was your smaller region and then you would get to go to the larger regionals. I would usually do really well in the regionals too.
Gregor: If you had to run today and you got to pick one distance, what would it be?
McDavid: Ooh, that’s a good question. I mean now I like the short distances (laughs). We run 400s in the off season sometimes. I think 400 is the worst possible distance. It is right in between a jog and a sprint and it’s a minute long and by the end of it you just want to die. I would say 400 meter is my least favourite, but 100m or so is good. I’ll run those.
Gregor: Not everybody who is a great skater is a great runner and vice versa. So of your teammates, if there is a 100 metre dash, who are the three finalists?
McDavid: We used to the do the shuttle run in fitness testing, so that was always kind of similar, but a little bit of a longer distance. The guys who would always do really well would be Nursey [Darnell Nurse]. Nursey is a great runner. You know who was an amazing runner is [Oscar] Klefbom. Klefbom was an amazing athlete. Now we don’t do too much running. It’s a little bit hard on the body and can kind of set guys back with injuries and things like that, so we don’t do a ton of it, but Nursey would for sure be up there. I think Yamo is quick [Kailer Yamamoto]. He’d be in there too.
Gregor: Speaking of Yamamoto, he jokes that he’s a little bit of an agitator in the room. He likes to keep the guys light with chirps. Who is the teammate that you have a good verbal spars with?
McDavid: For me it’s a guy like Tyse [Tyson Barrie], I like getting into it a little bit with Tyse. He’s a great player, a great guy for our room. (He) keeps it light and is a leader in his own way and a really big part of the room.
Gregor: Any favourite dig he delivered to you?
McDavid: He likes to keep me in check on the ice. He talks about in practice, he calls it gloving me up, which is I guess shutting me down, but he’s never really been a shutdown D man (laughs), so… that’s a bit of a funny one. But he works at it (shutting me down), works hard at it and like I said, he’s a big part of the room.
Gregor: Are you a diehard fan of any other sports? Are you watching NBA, NFL, do you play fantasy?
McDavid: Yeah, we have a fantasy league within our team. We have 14 teams in it, so we have quite a number of guys. Definitely a football fan, and I’ve become a little bit more of a soccer fan. I went to an Arsenal game in the summer, and I watched the TFC game a few years ago and just gained a better appreciation for it. I’m really looking forward to the World Cup, and if hockey is on I always kind of check in and watch.
Gregor: Who is the Commish in your fantasy league?
McDavid: Commish is Nugent-Hopkins.
Gregor: Is he a fair Commish?
McDavid: Umm…. I used to think so early on but he’s gotten a little corrupt as we’ve gotten into it a couple more years. He’s made a few deals that just don’t seem right (laughs).
Gregor: There is nothing worse in fantasy football the guy who always offers crap trades. There seems to be one or two guys who are always lowballing. Are you that guy, or do you offer fair deals?
McDavid: I only offer fair trades, but we do have a few guys like that. Hyman and I are trying to get a trade done now, but he’s offered me nothing but junk. Nuge is the same way, Nuge is always low-balling guys. I try to keep it fair, we’re all friends at the end of the day. But it is fantasy football (laughs), I try to get a deal done that works for both.
Gregor: Aare you a card player? Do you play cards on the road?
McDavid: We play a game called Super Tock. It’s kind of like an adult version of Sorry I guess.
Gregor: Adult version of Sorry?
McDavid: Yeah, I’ve never played Sorry, but guys always say it is similar.
Gregor: So, is it just luck of the dice/cards?
McDavid: Well, it’s a dice and cards actually. Sorry no, what am I saying, it’s not even a dice game it’s a card game. You have your five cards and they move your piece around the board. More strategy than luck. There is big strategy involved. [Devin] Shore and I are usually teammates and we usually play Nugent-Hopkins and Hyman so it gets pretty heated at the table.
Gregor: What makes Shore a good player?
McDavid: You know what, he’s passionate, that’s for sure. He always brings his best effort. We get some long flights, so sometimes guys can get a little tired and that’s when the mistakes can happen. Shore is passionate about his cards. And intense.
Gregor: Hall of Fame was last night. Did you watch it?
McDavid: I did not to be honest. We got back from a long road trip and I was tired.
Gregor: Henrik and Daniel Sedin chirped each other a little bit in their speech. So if in the future you’re lucky enough to get into the Hall of Fame, who would be your one teammate who could give you the biggest laugh/chirp?
McDavid: Ah… I mean Leo (Leon Draisaitl) is a good option. We’ve played together a long time, definitely know each other better than anyone else kind of knows each other. We have a great relationship and he would definitely be someone that would give me a good laugh.
Gregor: We started with goals, so I want to end with it. I know you don’t like to talk about individual stats, but 50 goals, there is something magical about that number in the NHL. Do you think about it and is it a goal?
McDavid: To be honest I don’t think about it. I definitely understand that all of the great players have scored 50 and I definitely understand that but at the end of the day we’re trying to win there. If you get there great, and if not, just trying to help my team win.
Oct 22, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; St. Louis Blues defensemen Robert Bortuzzo (41) plays for the puck against Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
McDavid and I had a good chuckle after discussing cross country running and fantasy football. Also, I looked into Super Tock, and many listeners told me it is a great game. You can get a board for four, six or eight players. I love board games and card games, so I’ll be buying it for Christmas. Nothing like a heated family card/board game at Christmas.
If you have any requests for who you’d like next for Who Are You?, and any question you want asked let me know.
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