A Tuesday night game in February between the Oilers and the Blue Jackets, two of the three teams currently tied for dead f&*%ing last in the league, and fans around the NHL are interested in this game. Just let that thought wash over you for a second. This is how big of a deal Connor McDavid’s return to the Oilers lineup is, it makes hockey fans interested in a game between the Oilers and Blue Jackets for a reason other than what it means to each teams draft lottery chances.
There were plenty of signs pointing to McDavid being healthy a few weeks ago but the team decided that 12 weeks recovery would be the timeline for this particular injury, no ifs ands or buts about it. And so his impending return has created a buzz in Edmonton that’s not been seen since, well, his regular season debut back in October. And before that on the night of the draft, when the Oilers made it official that McDavid would be calling Edmonton home for the next few seasons. Maybe you noticed a pattern in those events.
With all the hype surrounding him it would have been easy for McDavid to fall short of expectations, instead he’s exceeded them. With five goals and seven assists in 13 games before becoming a true Oiler and injuring his shoulder, McDavid was doing everything that the fans in Edmonton had been hoping for. It went beyond his point totals though. On an almost nightly basis (and sometimes multiple times a night) he would do something that led to a collective "wow" from Oilers fans around the world.
This kid - being twice his age I can call him a kid - was clearly something special. And then with a thud into the end boards it was all put on hold. After seeing what life was like with McDavid we had to endure an agonizing twelve weeks without him, and it was just as bad as we all remembered. December was nothing but cold days with almost no sunlight, it was truly a living hell. Tonight though, things start to get back to normal and for the second time this season we get to celebrate Connor McDavid’s debut. What a time to be an Oilers fan*.
*Not really as this team is about to miss the playoffs for a tenth straight season, but you know what I mean.