LAS VEGAS — Connor McDavid didn’t try to hide his feelings after the Edmonton Oilers’ playoff fate was sealed.
When asked what his frustration level was after the Oilers’ post-season hopes officially were extinguished on Monday, the Edmonton star said, “It’s really high. It’s really, really high.
“It’s frustrating. We want to play in the playoffs as a team. I personally want to play in the playoffs. I’m not happy about it. It’s going to be a long summer.”
The Oilers’ third non-playoff season in McDavid’s four years was confirmed before Edmonton even finished playing Monday night, losing 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Colorado Avalanche knocked the Oilers out of playoff contention by earning a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues earlier in the day.
McDavid led the league in scoring the last two seasons and is poised to finish second this year, but there hasn’t been nearly as much team success.
The Oilers fired coach Todd McLellan earlier this season, replacing him with veteran Ken Hitchcock. Then, the Oilers fired general manager Peter Chiarelli, electing not to name a full-time replacement.
But while the team flirted with playoff contention, the Oilers were on the fringes of the race most of the way.
“It’s been an insane season, coaching change, GM change, good times and bad times,” said McDavid, a 22-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont.
“It’s been a roller-coaster, it’s been emotionally challenging, it’s been hard mentally to kind of keep on going. But we were always kind of right there. We were close and then we’d drift away.”
The Oilers have now missed the playoffs 12 of the past 13 years.
“It sucks, obviously,” McDavid, the team’s captain, said. “It’s not good enough all year. We let streaks drag on, times where we couldn’t find ways to get wins drag on. You got to find a way to stop the bleeding quick. It’s a slim margin of error in this league.”
The Canadian Press