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ALL-STAR: McDavid, Draisaitl garner praise from Pacific Division peers

"Of course, the scoring race shows itself. McDavid and Draisaitl are on top for a reason," Canucks forward Elias Pettersson said

by Jamie Umbach /

ST. LOUIS, MO - Plaudits for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl from their Pacific Division peers aren't short.

They shouldn't have been, as more often than other teams in the NHL, they find themselves on the receiving end of the Dynamic Duo's destruction.

The Oilers tandem of McDavid and Draisaitl sit first and second in the NHL's scoring race at the 49-game mark and All-Star break with respective 76- and 75-point totals. That reality isn't lost on anyone around the League, especially those going toe-to-toe with them in a packed Pacific Division race.

"The standings are tight in our division," Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson said at NHL All-Star Media Day on Thursday. "Every point matters and it's going to be the last stretch when teams are fighting for points and games are going to be tougher to win. 

"Of course, the scoring race shows itself. McDavid and Draisaitl are on top for a reason, and they play really well together. It's impressive and it's fun to play against them."

Video: ALL-STAR | Elias Pettersson 01.23.20

For one of the only times during the season, those who line up on the other side of the face-off dot from the Duo are clamouring for a spot beside them when it comes time for Team Pacific to name their lineup for the NHL All-Star Game at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Saturday.

"They're two of the best in the game," Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes said. "Especially in the 3-on-3 event, I think it'll be really fun to be with those guys. Definitely a lot of respect for those two."

The Duo may line up on separate lines now for Head Coach Dave Tippett and the Oilers, but the threat they present on their own is a whole different evaluation in itself that yields similar reaction.

For former Oilers netminder Curtis Joseph, his attention towards McDavid as a hockey sensation begins back when Connor was one of many kids who flocked to his do-it-yourself skating rinks in rural in King City, Ontario.

"I had a riding arena at the farm, and none of my kids rode horses," Joseph said. "I converted it to a 'Field of Dreams' type hockey rink, so there are lots of kids in the NHL now that practiced on that rink on the weekends - Connor McDavid, Sam Bennett, Travis Dermott - all these kids played with my kids and they all played there."

His positive observations of Draisaitl were ones that grew with every passing season.

"Draisaitl impresses me every time I watch him play," he continued. "I didn't realize he was that good until this year with a combination of power, speed, and scoring touch."

Video: ALL-STAR | Max Pacioretty 01.23.20

Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty said it best when it comes to analyzing McDavid - you really just can't put it into words.

"You don't get how someone can be that good at the sport," Pacioretty said. "People who don't watch the game often and then watch him play, I've heard people ask 'Why is he so much better than everyone?' and 'Why is he so much faster than everyone?'

"There's no answer and I plan on asking him what he did as a kid growing up and maybe I can teach my kids how to skate like him. Nobody's been able to it thus far. Every night you see Edmonton play, you try to switch to that channel to watch him."

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