Apr. 27, 2017
Oilers need more from McDavid now
Hockey and basketball are incredible sports. One player has the ability to completely take over for his team and will them towards greatness. In football and baseball, there is some reliance on teammates. A quarterback cannot make his receivers catch a ball in football. A baseball slugger may smack four solo home runs in a game, but he can’t guarantee that his pitchers will give up less than four runs.
Hockey and basketball players can only single-handedly win a game all on their own. These special players accept the burden of doing it all. By doing this, many of them ensure that their legacies are eternal in the process.
Take LeBron James. With a supporting cast of Eric Snow, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes, James found a way to take the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007.
It was Cleveland’s first trip to the Finals in its 37th year of existence. James only needed four years to get there. The Cavaliers lost, but there’s no questioning that they would not have gotten that far if not for James.
After a horribly-planned departure, James returned and delivered the franchise’s first championship. It’s only a matter of time before Cleveland erects a statue in his honor.
Then there’s Sidney Crosby. The draft lottery miracle saved the Pittsburgh Penguins after several dull years that nearly led to the franchise’s relocation.
Since joining the NHL as rookie in 2005, Crosby has won nearly every major award possible in the NHL (some twice). In the process, Crosby has guaranteed that hockey will remain in Pittsburgh for a long time and that he will be one of the first names that comes to mind when the Penguins are brought up in any conversation.
Though only 20, Connor McDavid has the potential to become immortal like LeBron James and Sidney Crosby.
The Edmonton Oilers’ captain has had a Crosby-like effect on his team. He was selected first overall in a draft and also missed the playoffs in his rookie season. Like Crosby, McDavid also won the Art Ross Trophy as the league leader in points and made the playoffs for the first time in his sophomore campaign.
McDavid has lived up to the expectations thrusted upon a franchise-saver. He’s the favorite to win the Hart Trophy since he was the NHL’s only 100-point scorer. His Oilers continued a storybook season by defeating the defending Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks. It’s just the beginning.
However, for as good as McDavid was in the regular season, he has to be better in the second round. He only had two points (2+2) in the first round and had two games where he was kept off the scoresheet.
Both of his assists came on the power play.
McDavid must shoot more in the second round. The Richmond Hill, Ontario, native is a distributor first, but he still had 30 goals this season. He can light the lamp when he’s not dazing defenders.
It is time for McDavid to become a shooter first in the second round. Half of his production can come on the power play, but if that’s the case, then he needs to score much more to justify it.
Anaheim provides Edmonton with an intriguing opponent. The Ducks don’t score like the Oilers, but they allow fewer goals. McDavid’s line will likely go up against Ryan Getzlaf’s line. Getzlaf is one of the NHL’s finer two-way centerman and he’ll likely try to play physical with McDavid. The Hart-favorite has shown that this won’t bug him, but who knows if he can handle it for another playoff series.
If the Oilers want to continue their dream season, it starts and ends with the Franchise.