In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky sat down and discussed comparisons in their respective hockey careers. To say the least, the conversation opened up a lot of eyes as to the type of pressure McDavid is under. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also spoke with the media and discussed his role on the team and the team’s changing mindset.
McDavid and The Pressure He Feels to Win
You can tell McDavid is a special kind of player, especially when you consider the pressure he’s had on him since the age of as early as eight or nine years old. By the time he was 15 and 16, he was under an incredible microscope and he’s still, in a manner of speaking, under it. “There’s so much pressure, especially in Edmonton. You know what that’s like,” McDavid said to Gretzky during their one-on-one interview for GQ Sports.
McDavid cited all that the Oilers have been through in the last decade and the expectation is, “You gotta win”, he added. Gretzky agreed and said a lot of cities have that expectation, but in Edmonton, it’s “Hockey, church, and the Oilers.”
It’s no wonder that he’s likely so disappointed this season has come to a potential end in the fashion it has. The Oilers were having a great season and finally winning. They may have been viewed as the Canadian team with the best odds to win it all.
McDavid asked Gretzky, “What’s it like to win there?” Gretzky talked about the fans being there every night and you almost get to know them. They’re just as excited as you are to win and they feel like they’re as big a part of the victory as the players. “You will it [The Stanley Cup] one day, cause you’re too good.”
McDavid also said he’s “dying” to play in the Olympics.
Nugent-Hopkins Changing His Mindset This Season
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins spoke to fans and media through a video chat with and said he’s noticed how much both his and the rest of team has changed their mindset.
Personally, his changing mindset is as much about where he’s played most of the season as it is about his role off the ice with the team. He’s become more offensive as a winger and noted, “I got to play with obviously Leo and Yamo (Kailer Yamamoto) and we got some chemistry going right away. It was definitely a lot of fun and I think it did kind of open up things more offensively for me,” Nugent-Hopkins said.
He also added that as an older player his role has changed and there are more guys inside the room leading the way than ever before. The mindset of the entire team has changed because of the influx of so many guys who have been there and won before. He cited players like James Neal, Riley Sheahan, Mike Smith and Tyler Ennis. He noted that it’s “nice to have some positive energy coming in after some off years.”
Alex Chiasson Says Oilers Have Earned Their Playoff Spot
In all this talk about the Oilers frame of mind and the voices in the room, Alex Chiasson talked about how important the growth of this team has been. He echoed a lot of the sentiments of Nugent-Hopkins.
He noted, “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back here last year because there’s a lot of things I saw in this group that I saw when I played in Washington.” Saying this isn’t something the team just, all of a sudden, woke up with as a character trait. He noted it’s taken some time to get there. “Again, I think we’ve earned that as a team. We’ve shown that. We’re hopeful the season comes back, that we can go play and have fun.”
He said he believes the Oilers were built to be a good playoff team. Let’s hope we find out.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”