I was busy last night so I wasn't able to watch the Oilers game. Of course before I even saw a highlight I knew that Connor McDavid had scored his first career goal, it was a pretty big story in Edmonton and around the NHL. What I hadn't heard about was a hit that McDavid threw on Johnny Oduya in the game's first five minutes. If you missed the game like I did, or just don't recall the hit, take a look at it below. The hit is replayed from a couple of different angles at the end of the clip as well.
Should the NHL Department of Player Safety be giving McDavid a call this morning to discuss that hit? I think they probably should. Before you start yelling at me, watch the hit again. McDavid hits Oduya in the numbers. Oduya doesn't turn his back as McDavid approaches. Oduya is in a position where he's likely to go head first into the boards (if he's a step closer I think a suspension is a foregone conclusion). And McDavid has plenty of time to avoid the hit. I don't think McDavid is a psychopath who wanted to hurt anyone, he's just a young kid who made a bad choice that resulted in a dangerous play. Isn't this exactly the kind of thing that the league is trying to eliminate?
Regardless of the hype surrounding him, if I was in charge of player safety I'd sit him down for a game. It was a dangerous hit and one that can't be tolerated from anyone in the league, not the fourth liners and not the future superstars. You're free to disagree with my assessment, I expect that most will, but if the players were reversed, if it was McDavid going face first into the boards, would you still feel the same way? Remember, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Of course, all this speculation is pointless because the Oilers next game is the team's home opener, and so the odds of him being suspended are likely a little lower than the league retroactively deciding to award the Oilers wins for their first three games of the season. That doesn't mean that he shouldn't be watching that game from the pressbox though.