Sunday, September 18, 2016
How Connor McDavid prepared for the World Cup of Hockey
The first summer as an NHL star McDavid came to an early end, but fans who want to catch their next glimpse of the Phenom Edmonton Oilers do not complain.
Before McDavid gets his second season in the NHL, he will demonstrate his skills for the team in the North American Championship 2016 Ice Hockey World begins in Toronto on 17 September.
McDavid, 2015 first overall pick, is no stranger to international competition. A native of Richmond Hill, Ontario for Canada in the world under-18 championships, two World Junior Championships, and more recently in the Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia World Championships in May this year.
Unlike his previous international experience, the World Cup will be played in front of NHL training camp in September, in contrast to the middle of the season or after the end of their season. It has little effect on the preparation of the offseason McDavid, though.
"Code [tournament] structure does not affect my approach at all," said McDavid SportsNet. "I just started his regular-season training for about a month earlier than usual ... I'm just a little before the peak."
The tournament is a unique opportunity for McDavid and his teammates in North America. Canadians and Americans will be on the same side as the squad will consist of the best 23-year-old and under with the continent.
This is a chance for some of the game's brightest young stars to skate in the pseudo best in the best of the tournament when they otherwise might have been excluded from the relevant registry of the country. McDavid joins the likes of Buffalo "Jack Eichel, Florida Panthers" Ekblad, Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, Colorado Avalanche in McKinnon, and in 2016 the first overall pick Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I'm excited about it," he said. "I know some other guys who are going to represent North America, and they all say the same thing, they are excited, and they are very happy to team we have. We certainly have a lot of talent and a lot of speed, so I think, that we could make a real splash in the tournament. I think we're going to surprise some teams. "
While North America team will offer a unique perspective on the future of the NHL in one list, it will also offer a look at things to come for the national team of Canada and the United States national team.
"Canadian guys are pretty familiar, which grew through the system with each other together," said McDavid. "I played with Ekblad several times, and I am happy to play with him. It's going to be different, with the Americans and Canadians together on the same team, but I'm looking forward to getting to know them."
While NHL fans for many years to compare to 2015 McDavid number 2 overall pick Jack Eichel, the World Cup this year may be the only chance to see them line up next to each other in a competitive atmosphere. Any sense of rivalry, however made, was cast aside.
"Jack Eichel is someone there, you know, we have been associated with each other for some time, such as tied as competitors, that's not quite true, but I think it would be great to experience, you know, being able to play with him and all that, "said McDavid.
McDavid has a slight advantage in the tournament title. Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan will be behind the bench for the team in North America, so McDavid steps in a familiar situation.
"With Todd, as a coach is good in the sense that I will not have to learn the system, I kind of already know that," he said. "It's ingrained in my game, so I think I was lucky that I can use it to my advantage."
Broken collarbone McDavid limited to 45 games in the 2015-16 biennium, but the 19-year-old still tallied 16 goals and 48 points to become the first rookie to average point of the game, since Evgeni Malkin did it in 2006-07. McDavid next act begins with a starring role in the most intriguing team in the world cup.
Team North America takes on Finland in their tournament opener on Sunday, September 18th.