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All-Star Game

Connor McDavid relishes All-Star experience

Oilers captain enjoys unforgettable weekend

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Participating in his first NHL All-Star game, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid loved the show he helped put on.

"I really, really like the format," said McDavid, who had one goal in the Pacific Division's 4-3 loss against the Metropolitan Division in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game 3-on-3 tournament's final game at Staples Center on Sunday. "It might be a little bit gimmicky at the start when everyone was going a little bit lighter but as the thing goes on, everyone gets a little more intense and heated and then you really start to see some good hockey."

McDavid, who was named captain of the Pacific Division by NHL fan voting, had a goal and two assists in a 10-3 semifinal win against the Central Division. The final result wasn't that disappointing, McDavid said.

"I'm not too, too upset about it," he said. "Would we have liked to have won? Yeah. But ultimately it's a fun event and it's for the fans, and I think they enjoyed themselves and that's important."

Video: MET@PAC: McDavid scores incredible breakaway goal

McDavid, 20, has scored 33 goals and 107 points in his first 96 NHL games but said he had not spent a lot of time around the League's top players prior to his first NHL All-Star Game experience.

"I didn't know a lot of them," McDavid said. "It was kind of my first experience to hang out with a lot of them and play with these guys. It was good to be in the room.

"The beauty of hockey players is that they make everyone feel included and make everyone feel a part of it."

On Sunday, 48 of the final 67 players on the 100 Greatest NHL Players list were present and introduced on the Staples Center ice. After each All-Star was introduced before the start of the 3-on-3 tournament, he went down the line of legends for a fist-bump.

"It was pretty cool," McDavid said. "You're looking at every guy and every guy is an even bigger star in this league. There were so many amazing players in that line."

In the final game, McDavid played most of his shifts with forward Ryan Kesler, normally a Pacific Division rival with the Anaheim Ducks.

"A little bit different," McDavid said. "I definitely like playing with him a lot more than against him. He's not my favorite guy to play against, that's for sure, so it was good to play on his line today."

McDavid tied the final game 2-2 with a first-period goal when a perfect lead pass from Kesler sent him on a breakaway.

Metropolitan Division goalie Sergei Bobrovsky tried for the pokecheck, but McDavid's quick hands and fleet feet avoided Bobrovsky's stick and the Oilers captain slid the puck into the empty net.

"It was a really, really nice pace by Kesler, finding that seam," McDavid said. "I saw Bobrovsky coming out to pokecheck and was able to just get around him."

Video: CEN@PAC: McDavid nets Kesler's feed after faceoff

The only frown from McDavid all weekend came in the second half of the final game when Kesler's apparent goal at 3:24 of the second half, which would have put the Pacific Division ahead 4-2, was disallowed because McDavid was found to be offside by a video review.

"I didn't know they were calling it that tight," McDavid said. "I think it might have been a millimeter offside, but I guess it was a good coach's challenge by (Metropolitan Division coach Wayne) Gretzky."

Despite the loss in the final, McDavid said NHL All-Star Weekend was a great experience.

"It was so cool," he said. "Having the top 100 greatest players of all-time here makes it even better. Obviously this All-Star Game was stacked with talent. It was so much fun to be around and be part of."

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