Connor McDavid finally knows who his linemates are. The newly minted Team North America captain will center a line with Auston Matthews and Mark Scheifele on his left and right respectively. Team North America coach Todd McLellan, who is also McDavid’s bench boss with the Oilers, finally decided on his the lines after experimenting through the exhibition games. McLellan had this to say:
“We’re still looking for combinations that will give us the best chance to win. Connor, I think, has been getting better. I thought Auston’s been one of our top forwards. Those two complement each other, Auston with his size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and his ability to hold onto the puck, and Connor with his speed.”
A top line that features the future superstars of the NHL provides excitement as the World Cup of Hockey begins tomorrow. North America has been tabbed as a team that could possibly push Canada and Sweden for the title of champions as they feature depth, speed, and scoring prowess. A line of Matthews-McDavid-Scheifele only guarantees that. TSN’s Ryan Kennedy continues by writing that the North American squad has gelled quickly and quotes Jack Eichel as saying that his teammates are “awesome” with similar interests. Defenseman Ryan Murray explains:
“Everyone has created some chemistry,” Murray said. “You see guys like Morgan Rielly and Aaron Ekblad, who have never played together before, and they look really good as a pair. That’s pretty rewarding to see.”
That chemistry has translated into success and placed Team North America as a much-watch team for many hockey fans. Kennedy writes that the 23 and under squad is looking forward to the challenge of the tournament as it learned some valuable lessons in just two exhibition games.
In other NHL news:
- Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy previews Team USA before tournament play begins and a quick take for the Red, White, and Blue is a team strongest in net but weakest up front. Leahy understands the addition of irritant Ryan Kesler but wonders why Justin Abdelkader and Brandon Dubinsky are on the roster in the first place. Though they bring a physical element, goal scoring isn’t expected to come from them. Leahy notes that the United States boasts Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski, Blake Wheeler and Max Pacioretty, the four Americans to be in the top 50 of goal scorers last season. Yet the obsession with being “tough to play against” may in fact be USA’s undoing. A complete team effort is necessary for the US to win, Leahy writes, but whether that happens is another matter.