Edmonton – Connor McDavid He knows what it’s like to be like Conor Bedard.
Because that is exactly what it was not so long ago.
Much like Bedard, who was the overwhelming pick to be the first pick in the 2023 NHL Upper Deck Draft, he’s been a spotlight for the Edmonton Oilers center since he was a kid. Being from Canada, he was known around the country long before he ever played in the NHL.
Fair or not, even before he was selected #1 by the Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid had heard all the comparisons that he was next. Sidney CrosbyJust as Bedard is mentioned as the next Connor McDavid.
In that sense, how does a teenager deal with such pressure before being drafted into the NHL?
“How did I handle that? Well, you know, I was really proud of the fact that people thought I was going to be that player,” McDavid told NHL.com.
[Part 1: McDavid talks legacy, goals | Part 2: McDavid on maturing, Gretzky]
The 26-year-old has admitted there is a kind of fear factor attached to such high expectations and comparisons, and it’s the kind that’s being pushed around in Bédard at the moment.
“It was really motivating because, you know, I didn’t want to be broke,” McDavid said. You know what I mean? I don’t want to be that guy.
“And honestly, when you get promoted to be that confident person, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. How do you deal with that? I think I dealt with that, you know, by working harder. I really became me, working harder.”
Video: EDM @ SJS: McDavid counts twice a day to make history
It was McDavid’s recipe for success. After scoring 120 points (44 goals, 76 assists) in 47 games in his final season with Erie, the Oilers recovered it…and the rest is history.
Bedard’s numbers with Regina of the Western Hockey League are equally astounding. The 17-year-old striker has scored 143 points (71 goals and 72 assists) in 57 games this season. The NHL Lottery, also known as the Bédard Lottery, takes place on May 8th.
As such, any advice from one Connor to another?
“It’s about relying on family and friends and being able to get away,” McDavid said. “Be yourself. You’re still a child. Because he’s still a child.”
“All things considered, I think he handles it very well.”
MacDavid will know.
Here is Part 3 of our Q&A with McDavid:
We’ve discussed Conor Bedard and the difficulties of having such high expectations going back to his childhood, just as we did with you. With this in mind, has Connor McDavid become a normal kid like his friends? Have you become one, even with the lights on everywhere? If so, how?
“I think of my childhood with very fond memories. It’s because I have such an amazing family, I have wonderful parents and very close friends. When you have a very tight circle around you and your boyfriend is kind of a group of family and friends, it really feels like a great escape from whatever’s going on.” I remember my little hockey days and I only have good memories.I remember as a kid playing street hockey going to the pond with my brother.All those great things and great memories.»
One such memory is of former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph. I played hockey and lacrosse with Curtis’ son, Tristan, as a kid, and even skated in the barn Curtis had turned into a skating rink on his farm in King City, north of Toronto. When you were around Curtis when you were very young, how much did you take away from the way he behaved himself that you carry with you to this day?
“Growing up in the Toronto area, I feel like the presence in the NHL is very strong. And obviously with the Leafs out there, anyone playing on the Leafs was kind of a hero and they have a lot of kids there to this day. But also, there are so many different NHL players in the Different NHL teams who are coming back to Toronto this summer.So I remember being in ’10, ’11, ’12 and I was there with the NHL guys. So I definitely had a lot of that kind of experience around these kind of guys. And I think that helps a lot. I think it’s Really helpful. And just seeing how Kojo acts when he’s at the rink, you know, watching his son play, how he treats the crowd, but also how he manages to get time for himself as well. And he was always so fun with people, which definitely gives you a perspective on how he handles it. With fans and how to deal with that.
In an interview we did in Erie in 2015, you said it would be your dream to one day play for the Maple Leafs. You were then drafted by the Oilers and you said over and over how much you loved playing in Edmonton and how well the city treated you. But is it still special when you’re back and playing at Scotiabank Arena? Did you notice the energy in the rink on March 11 when Toronto played the Maple Leafs for the first time in front of a full block on Saturday on “Hockey Night in Canada?” »
“I can feel it a little bit. It’s fun. It’s fun to play in Toronto. You know, I’m obviously a little biased. I’m a kid from Toronto. But I think of Toronto as something of a Mecca for hockey. Really. Fair with all the media, the fans, and of course the Leafs.” the date.
Having said that, who does Connor McDavid like to watch on TV when he’s not training or playing for the Oilers?
“Obviously, I like watching the players more than watching the teams. So I like to watch Pittsburgh for obvious reasons. And I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying that (laughs) but I like watching the Leafs with all the talent they have. Those are probably my favorites.”
When was the first time you noticed people staring at you everywhere you go because of your celebrity personality?
, until you come to Edmonton. It’s obviously a crazy, passionate hockey market. The team likes the Euler bus, and was the team I found at the time. It’s a great place to play. It is a nice. ”
The fact that we’re sitting here in the Oilers locker room talking about the season of your career is a testament to the work that went into bringing you back from a horrific left knee injury. On April 6, 2019, I suffered multiple lacerations around my knee and a crack in my shin when I touched the net of the Calgary Flames. A number of doctors recommended surgery, but you chose rehab. Now, four years after your injury, how grateful are you to be back playing… and arguably at the highest level you’ve ever been?
“I’m going to be honest. It was a really scary time. Think about it. You’re 22 years old. You have a knee that you have all kinds of different opinions about. To finally decide the course, well, there were a few ups and downs along that track. We’ve had Lots of MRI’s and we were often advised to have surgery. Well I felt like the operation was very risky. When you go under the knife you never know, especially when it comes to your knee and my specific injury. So it was a really scary time. I was lucky to get Supporting guys who work with me like (Soft Tissue Specialist and Chiropractor) Mark Lindsay and (Chiropractic and Sports Medicine) Mike Prebage.
“Mike was there from the beginning to work on my knee. I remember it coming in early in the process when I couldn’t even walk and working on my quadriceps so they wouldn’t atrophy so much. He was great. Mark was amazing. Thanks to (Outers owner) Daryl Katz And the whole Katz family, traveling with me and I’m talking to all these doctors. And my agent, Jeff Jackson, of course. I’m very lucky because I have a lot of support and I certainly wouldn’t have succeeded without all of these people.”
Times have improved a lot since then. Your game, and the Oilers’ game, is proof of that.
“Absolutely. And I hope they continue to move in this direction.”
Part 1: MacDavid talks about legacy and goals
Part 2: MacDavid at maturity, Gretzky