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McDavid 'feeling good' about Oilers after hiring Holland, Tippett

Center says new GM, coach should bring 'stability'

by Bill Price @BillPriceNHL / Editor-in-Chief

LAS VEGAS -- Connor McDavid said his injured knee is progressing and that he has high hopes about the upcoming season for the Edmonton Oilers under new coach Dave Tippett and new general manager Ken Holland.

The captain of the Oilers, who tore the PCL in his left knee on April 6 during the season finale against the Calgary Flames, wouldn't offer much more on the injury, instead mentioning Holland's statements of June 14, that the center should be ready for training camp.

"It's coming along," McDavid said during NHL Awards Media Day on Tuesday. "I think Holland already touched on it. I won't say much more than that. I think he nailed it there."

Holland, who was named Oilers GM on May 7 after serving in that role with the Detroit Red Wings for 22 seasons, is a big reason McDavid is looking forward to next season.

"He obviously is a guy who is open with his plan, very open with his players, open with the media, and I think that's good," McDavid said. "He's got a ton of experience and he's the right man for the job."

Video: Oilers introduce Dave Tippett as their new head coach

McDavid is a finalist for the Hart Trophy, given to the player voted most valuable player, and for the Ted Linsday Award, which is presented to the most outstanding player NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association, to be given out during the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

McDavid scored an NHL career-high 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists) this season, but the Oilers finished second to last in the Western Conference and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season and for the third time in McDavid's four seasons with Edmonton.

Coach Todd McLellan was fired Nov. 20 and replaced by Ken Hitchcock, who wasn't retained after the season. General manager Peter Chiarelli was fired Jan. 23. Tippett, who won 553 games over 14 seasons with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars, was named coach May 28.

"[Holland and Tippett] are both experienced guys, they've been around a long time. They've done this for a long time and they know what they are doing," McDavid said. "There are no learning curves or anything like that, and I think with that comes stability."

McDavid said he has met with Holland multiple times over the past few weeks and has talked to Tippett on the phone. He knows Tippett from the World Cup of Hockey 2016, when he played for Team North America and Tippett was an assistant.

They have McDavid believing the Oilers are headed in the right direction.

"You always have to be optimistic, you can never lose that," the 22-year-old said. "I think Ken is going to do whatever he has to do, and Dave will come in a do what he does. I'm feeling good about it."

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