Here’s how we know that Connor McDavid has truly arrived: he was part of a late no-goal controversy where puck placement will be treated like the Zapruder film in “JFK.”
(References to movies I haven’t seen but mention anyway because of parodies: 1.)
Surely* there are many who are fuming at the call, and not all of those people are Edmonton Oilers fans who are all-too-aware that their upstart team may need every point it can get.
Some people may have lost money in FanDuel. Others may have lost a weekly league by a precious McDavid goal. And so on.
Still, those with a longer view should take heart.
We’re still in the first month of the season, and McDavid is already so lethal that he’s - virtually - scoring huge goals when opposing defenses are trying to batten down the hatches. Say what you will about the Los Angeles Kings of 2015-16, but they’ve been rising lately (see: five-game winning streak) and still have elite blueliners who would make it tough for any player to score a tying goal.
McDavid is really feeling it, even without that goal. It doesn’t feel like he’s riding luck, either, as his elite speed and star-quality skills combine to make him a matchup nightmare, already. Todd McLellan’s clever enough to find ways to either give McDavid positive matchups or exploit the skills of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins + Taylor Hall, so the Oilers are an awfully intriguing bunch.
If you don’t have a horse in the race, you have to admit that it would be kind of cool to see The Wunderkind (not Alex Wright) make it to the playoffs right off the bet, right?
These days, I find myself less-than-moved by the controversy of the moment, which in Sunday’s case was everything surrounding that non-goal.
To me, this shines a light on an increasingly obvious positive: McDavid’s real, right now.
Does that mean he won’t stumble? I’d assume he will, but his skating ability could help him avoid some of the pitfalls you’d see with lesser prospects.
Let’s get to the recaps, starting with more thoughts on Kings - Oilers.
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KINGS 3, OILERS 2
-- Speaking of McDavid, his chief beneficiary Nail Yakupov (assist last night) is still available in a fairly decent amount of leagues. As of this writing, he's only taken in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues. Snatch him up until he gets kicked off the gravy train or gets scooped up in just about every league that isn't a ghost town.
-- Tanner Pearson is the anti-Yakupov, as his line placement is ... not ideal right now. I wonder if he just sadly looks at "That 70's Line" Photoshops while a single tear drops down his face.
-- Looks like Milan Lucic is on track now, to Pearson's chagrin. All five of his points have come in the last five games. I'd still like to see him do more power forward things, but beggars and choosers and whatnot.
-- Benoit Pouliot may be a guy to watch as the defensive conscience (?) of the McDavid-Yakupov line. It's pretty funny that he was a prospect too; the Wild drafted him fourth overall in 2005.
-- Tyler Hall, totally old news No. 1 pick from 2010, scored his third goal of the season. He has a solid six points in nine games.
-- Jonathan Quick has won four games in a row, allowing just four goals in the process. Congrats to anyone who landed him from a panicking novice fantasy owner, even if such a move prompts questions of ethics.
-- Cam Talbot isn't a miracle worker, but he has a shot at providing respectable stability.
JETS 5, WILD 4
-- Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little each collected a goal and an assist. Linemate Blake Wheeler picked up two assists. Wheeler has an eight game point streak going (4 goals and 7 assists in that stretch).
-- Drew Stafford scored twice after missing practice on Saturday.
-- We saw good Buffy and bad Buffy in this game. Dustin Byfuglien picked up an assist and was a plus 3, yet his boarding hit on Jason Pominville - just a minor in the game - could get a look-see from the Department of Player Safety. Byfuglien’s been over the line quite a bit lately.
-- Zach Parise picked up his seventh goal of the season, putting him in the “more goals than the Anaheim Ducks” meme club.
-- It was a tough night in terms of plus/minus for some of the Wild, especially Jared Spurgeon at -5.
-- Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 18 shots before being pulled. Meanwhile, Devan Dubnyk admitted that he’s injured or at least hurting, but that his issue isn’t the sort that should get worse if he plays. Sounds GREAT for a Wild franchise that dealt with goalie injuries for much of last season before stumbling upon Dubnyk.
-- Man, Nikolaj Ehlers looks great. He’s a huge bargain in daily fantasy formats, at minimum.
RANGERS 4, FLAMES 1
-- Calgary showed some flashes of last year on Friday, but Sunday only included the “Gaudreau line getting their goal” routine. In this case, Jiri Hudler scored the opening goal with assists from Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. After that, well, the score should tell you how things went.
-- Oscar Lindberg already has five goals this season, with his fourth coming off a ridiculous dish by Kevin Hayes (confession: I had to double check to make sure I got my Hayes brother right). Considering Lindberg one of the early frontrunners for the coveted imaginary Calder If Connor McDavid Didn’t Exist Trophy.
-- Antti Raanta continues to make an on-ice argument to spell Henrik Lundqvist here and there, as he was sharp in going 2-0-0. Not sure if it’s good pro scouting, strong support without Hank in net or some combination of factors, but the Rangers have enjoyed nice backup work lately.
-- Dan Girardi scored the GWG, making the Rangers feel better about his bad contract for at least one night.
-- New York’s on a nice mini-roll (3-0-2 in its last five games), so I imagine the Rangers are at least a bit bummed not to play again on Friday.
/cuts to Rangers players on white-sand beaches for a quick vacation instead of New York in late-October.
-- Micheal Ferland is week-to-week, which is relevant to a) Flames front office members exaggerated his merit and b) misspelled first name enthusiasts.
(Are his parents embarrassed every day or just on a weekly basis?)
* - Surely could have been a reference to “Airplane,” but I’ve seen that remarkably politically incorrect, brilliant slapstick parody a few times.
/pours one out for Leslie Nielsen.