NHL Points Leader Connor McDavid “Has The Full Package”
by Scott King
The Blackhawks have been seeing a lot of NHL points leader Connor McDavid lately. The Hawks topped the Oilers 5-1 in Edmonton on February 11, then Edmonton had their revenge 3-1 at the United Center Saturday night. McDavid put the icing on the cake with a late third period empty-net goal in Chicago.
The Ontario native already has 67 points 59 games into his second NHL season. He only played in 45 games last year due to a collarbone injury and finished the 2015-2016 season with 48 points.
Hawks forward Ryan Hartman, who’s playing in his first full NHL season, has gotten a firsthand look McDavid’s rare talent.
“It’s how fast he is. Some guys can go fast, but their hands sometimes can’t keep up with their stride. I think [his] are pretty complimentary of each other. His hands are moving fast, his feet are moving fast and you can’t really judge if he’s going left, right, straight or back. I think he’s very deceptive with his stick-handling and skating.”
There’s even more to McDavid’s game than just his speed and his hands according to Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
“The different gears he has and his acceleration from either going in a cruising motion and acceleration to a top gear is as amazing as I’ve ever seen. And he can slow it down and can gear it up again. It’s just pretty amazing.”
“It was interesting to watch him at the World Juniors and [wonder] what he was going to be like stepping into the NHL,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews of the 20-year-old scoring sensation.
“Everyone talked about his speed. I was wondering if he had the play-making ability and just the puck sense, the hockey sense.
“I think sometimes when you have pure, raw ability, you don’t really need to develop anything else, but it seems he’s the whole package in that sense. It’s like his hands and his stick-handling keep up with his footwork and he sees the ice really well as well. Obviously he’s got a couple weapons in that sense, but it seems like he still has the full package in a lot of different ways.”
Like many, Toews was surprised at not only how quickly McDavid could adapt to the NHL’s grand stage, but conquer it.
“It rarely ever happens. I think you can compare him to a guy like (Sidney) Crosby when he stepped into the league. That’s the type of player that comes around every 10 years. Obviously you don’t see them too often.”
For the young Oilers captain, the admiration expressed by Toews is mutual.
“It never gets old, honestly. For a guy like that, to say something like that, it’s always special. He’s a guy that I think everyone in the league respects so much. The way he plays, how hard he plays every night, the way he leads the team, I think a guy like that everyone respects a crazy amount. For him to say that means a lot.”
McDavid isn’t surprised with his adaptation to or production in the big league, he’s doing things his way.
“This is what I want to do. This is how I want to play. This is [what] I expect out of myself. I expect myself to produce.”
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