The Edmonton Oilers might be breathing a little easier today after their star, Connor McDavid, took the ice for the first time since tearing his PCL in his left knee on the final game of the season on Apr. 6, though he did not require surgery. There were concerns recently when McDavid didn’t take the ice last week at the annual BioSteel camp in Toronto, but McDavid said he felt good after today’s informal skate, according to Sportsnet’s Marc Spector.
“It feels like nothing’s changed,” said McDavid. “I didn’t want to push it too hard but you have to push it hard enough to ensure that it’s healing. I was lucky to work with some great doctors and the Oilers medical team.”
The 22-year-old took the ice today with a group of Oilers and fared well in informal three-on-three scrimmages. Spector writes that McDavid looked 100 percent, who said that he feels that nothing is restricting him on the ice. The star forward hopes that he will be ready to go on opening night, Oct. 2 against Vancouver.
“We’re working towards that,” he said about opening night. “It’s kinda out of my hands. The doctors, they’ll figure that all out, and I’ll listen to them.”
- Sticking with the Oilers, former head coach Ken Hitchcock may no longer be behind the bench, but is still quite involved in Edmonton. Now with the job title of advisor, Holland is involved in everything that goes around the team as he helps general manager Ken Holland, according to Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson. He had a hand in the hiring of Dave Tippett as the new head coach and also had a hand in the Milan Lucic – James Neal swap as well. He is expected to be present at both rookie and the main training camp before returning to his home in California, where the veteran coach is expected to keep an eye on Oilers on TV, while watching the Bakersfield AHL team as well. “I’m here to help the Oiler organization, anything to help the American League team … I’m really glad I’m able to sit in with the coaches meetings with the AHL club. Anything that Ken and Tip (new coach Dave Tippett) want,” said Hitchcock. “But it’s really important I give each staff their space, physical and mental space.”
- The Sharks have high expectations for their prospects at the Anaheim Rookie Faceoff Tournament as the team still has a few holes in their lineup and several of their young prospects have the potential to challenge for spots, according to the Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka. A strong showing at this tournament that starts today will be critical for them, including Sasha Chmelevski, Ivan Chekhovich and Joachim Blichfield who are all turning pro this year. While many expect the three to play out their first professional season with the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL, a strong showing at the rookie tournament by one of these players could allow the team to look at them challenging several of the frontrunners jobs’ at the main training camp such as Dylan Gambrell, Antti Suomela and Alexander True.