- Advertisement -spot_img
Saturday, March 25, 2023

McDavid’s campaign to be the best player in the NHL begins on the ice

EDMONTON, Alberta ( Associated Press) — Christian DeDonato doesn’t see Conor McDavid much in the off-season, at least not until mid-afternoon. McDavid is too busy working out in the gym or staying sharp on the ice.

When longtime friends get together to skate, surf, kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball, DeDonato still sees an intensity in McDavid, who is now seven years into a disappointing NHL career as a standout. .

“I’ve seen him practice this skill and he won’t stop until he perfects it,” DeDonato said. “Even throwing a baseball or going surfing, everything has to be perfect, and I think that shows on the ice and shows in their personality – their commitment.”

Having known McDavid for more than a decade before the two entered high school, DeDonato is not surprised by the success of the Edmonton Oilers captain. What he knows best is how much McDavid sacrificed on the ice in his campaign to become the best player in the league.

At 25, McDavid is on pace to become the league’s top scorer for the fourth time and took the Oilers to a third consecutive playoff. His dazzling play is the culmination of decades of work, crafted to prepare him for significant performances. majority of.

“He wants to be the best,” said DeDonato, a hockey player at Brock University who lasts less than 10 minutes from McDavid during the off-season. “He knows it takes a lot of work to be the best, and he’s been working his whole life to be the best.”

The playoffs are now his proving ground as McDavid has done almost everything during the regular season. He is a two-time Hart Trophy winner As league MVP, Ted Lindsay/Lester B. Three-time pick by his teammates for the Pearson Award as the most outstanding player and five times has crossed the 100 mark.

For all those accolades, he has never reached a Stanley Cup final and the Oilers have won only one playoff series during his tenure in 2017.

“There’s probably a level of frustration, which is natural,” said retired NHL forward Matt Hendrix, who played with McDavid for two seasons from 2015–17. “But then, having said that, he just keeps coming out and the way he performs in every game. It’s amazing.”

Right after McDavid was first selected in the NHL Draft, Hendrix observed that the so-called “Next One” wanted to have the Oilers on his shoulders and “be the focal point and reason they came out of those dark days.” It hasn’t changed.

“Obviously I want to play well and contribute to the team as much as I can,” McDavid said. “When I do my best, I contribute a lot.”

McDavid was at his best when Edmonton needed him. Since the Oilers crashed out of playoff position on March 4, McDavid has averaged more than 21 minutes of ice time and scored 14 goals and 25 assists for 39 points in 24 games. They have won 16 out of 24 games to make it to the playoffs.

“I’m skating at my best, pucking, playing aggressively,” McDavid said. “That’s when I’m at my best.”

It is difficult to see how McDavid has evolved into an all-rounder.

“He is driven to win. He has put a lot of emphasis in some of the areas that our employees put so much emphasis on when we (recently) have come together, which is his work to our own end,” Said coach Jay Woodcroft, who was promoted from the minors when Dave Tippett was fired in February. “For me, we’re asking some of our high-minute players to do a lot of things and take on a little more responsibility.”

McDavid has also spent the past several years trying to address its biggest weakness.

After being first elected in the 2015 draft, he struggled on the faceoff. McDavid won only 42% of draws in its first three seasons and now has a more than 54% success rate, ranking 21st in the league.

McDavid works out in the off-season with retired forward Gary Roberts, who has become a high-performance trainer, and thanks much to the annual BioStyle camp. He also does his own training, occasionally taking a round of golf with friends to work on his craft.

“To me it’s those characteristics that separate the really good hockey players from the really great hockey players,” Hendricks said. “Connor from day one, I knew he had that. He had a game plan. Everything has a purpose.”

During the season, McDavid’s leadership teamed up with fellow MVP Leon Dracitel to remind defenseman Duncan Keith of his days in Chicago with stars Jonathan Toes and Patrick Kane.

Keith said, “Ken, Toez, Dracitel, McDavid, those guys are where they are because they’re competitive and they want to be the best.” “Connor and Lyon take on and absorb a lot of responsibility because they feel the pressure. They want to win here.”

McDavid’s desire to win also flows into his social life, where he drinks only light or gluten-free beer and clear wine with alcohol—when he drinks at all. His healthy diet is a 24/7/365 effort.

Nearly three years into watching the youth center closely, general manager Ken Holland has learned a thing or two about McDavid and his ability to take the Oilers to the playoffs and, one day, the Cup.

“He competes every night, he competes every day, he competes all off-season,” Holland said. “He trains throughout the season. He is a focused, motivated athlete. He is competing in both directions. I think he’s doing everything he can for our success.”


Follow Associated Press Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter https://twitter.com/SHowno


More Associated Press NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
Latest news
Related news
- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here