McDavid’s Leadership More Impressive Than New NHL Record

It was an incredible comeback for the Edmonton Oilers, a wonderful move by Darnell Nurse in overtime, a huge night for Connor McDavid and a win the team badly needed to get their arrows pointing in a positive direction. Among the highlights of the Oilers victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, was the fact McDavid set an NHL record for consecutive points on the first nine goals of the Oilers season.

Even more impressive than the feat itself — one that had never been done before, and may never be done again— was that McDavid couldn’t give two craps.

How can you not love this guy?!

McDavid’s Contribution to Oilers Offense

Before Tuesday’s game, the Oilers had played three times. In each game, Edmonton scored very little including a win over the New York Rangers on Saturday — a win in which the team could only muster two goals. McDavid had factored in on every tally and frankly, he was the only real bright spot for the team that really needed an outbreak on offense to get going.

Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers
EDMONTON, AB – MARCH 25: Connor McDavid #97 had been in on every goal for the Oilers. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

You could tell McDavid had come into the season with a different attitude. He was laser focused all the time and had his legs moving from the get-go. He looked quicker than he did in previous seasons, which is hard to even imagine if you’ve watched him a play a lot.

Typically, the offense flows through McDavid, but this season, it was something else. If not for McDavid, the team wouldn’t have done much of anything.

Related: 3 Things to Watch for Early in the Oilers Season

The Winnipeg Game: A Turning Point?

Not many people likely expected the Oilers to win this game versus Winnipeg. The start of the season was a rough one for a team that had traveled a great deal, was scheduled to face multiple Eastern Conference teams that each had 100 points last season and the Oilers were on the road to boot. Winnipeg might have been the best team of the bunch and early on, in this particular game, things looked bleak.

McDavid had already scored once in the contest but the Jets seemingly put the game out of reach with a 4-1 lead. Edmonton had to put something together in the third period or everyone would have written this team and this season off.

The Oilers answered the bell.

In a matter of minutes, McDavid had an assist on the Ty Rattie goal, his own marker on a power play and another assist on the Jesse Puljujarvi goal that tied it up. His point streak was finally broken when Darnell Nurse made a fantastic move in overtime to get around a defender and snipe home the winner. While he didn’t factor in on the overtime winner, it was four-point night, giving McDavid nine points on the season.

Related: Oilers’ Todd McLellan on Borrowed Time

McDavid After the Game

People talked to Nurse about the overtime goal and Puljujarvi about his first of the season, but who people really wanted to talk to was McDavid, the player who’d just set a record that was going to be hard to match. Reporters wanted his comments, thinking he might be excited but what they got might have come as a surprise.

“It’s whatever,” McDavid told reporters postgame. “I’m not overly proud of it. I don’t think it’s a stat we should be proud of, either. It is what it is, but we found a way to get a goal there at the end, so we don’t ever have to talk about it again.”

Again, McDavid was laser-focused, almost annoyed that the season thus far had come to rely on his contributions to every goal. He talked about the team getting off to a horrid start in the first period, how they needed to figure out a way not to have to mount this kind of comeback and he hinted that it’s not good the team has relied on him scoring like he has, knowing the whole team needs to contribute for the Oilers to keep winning.

He may never say it, but he’s probably thinking it: instead of being amazed by McDavid’s accomplishment they should be ashamed he had to get this record for the Oilers to now be 2-2 on the season. While he could be soaking up the fact he did what no one else may ever do, his focus is on the team needing to improve and annoyed this has become about him.

If there was ever a question of his leadership, the record he just broke didn’t prove he has leadership skills in spades, his response to the record did.