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GENE'S BLOG: Fast-en your seatbelts

Connor McDavid's speed was on full display in Wednesday's home opener against the Flames

by Gene Principe /

EDMONTON, AB - If you drive 40.9 km's an hour in a school or playground zone, you could end up with a speeding ticket in Edmonton. However, if you go that fast on the ice it could lead to what we saw Wednesday night in Edmonton's game against Calgary: Connor McDavid flying up the ice and flying by the Calgary Flames to score his second goal of the night. He had one before and he had one after but the one everyone was talking about was the goal where McDavid looked like he had Flames coming out of his feet or at least his skates. 

Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid opens season with hat trick


Listen, I work for Sportsnet so I may be a little or a lot biased but I don't think it matters who signs your checks; you had to be impressed by the tool being used to clock Connor's speed. In the old days, which wasn't that long ago, we would describe his speed but now we can actually see it. I think about driving my vehicle at 40 km's per hour and that's a pretty decent speed on a city street. It's another thing to see that speed on the ice with no wheels - just skates. Everyone knows Connor McDavid has blazing speed but a numerical example of it was on display against Calgary. 

About as fast, or somewhere close to it, as McDavid went down the Rogers Place ice Wednesday night the Edmonton media barreled their way into the Oilers Dressing Room Thursday morning. Like McDavid went right at Flames goalie Mike Smith we went directly at the captain. It wasn't to talk about his second career hat trick but instead his second goal. He was asked if he was faster than last season and he really wasn't sure. He was asked if he knew he was going 40.9 km/h and he said not really but just as long as you're going faster than the other guy. He was asked how often he gets to top speed and he answered it depends on the game and when it's necessary. 

His dressing room mates Leon Draisaitl and Milan Lucic were playfully joking about what could have changed from when Connor spoke after Wednesday night's game to talking again 12 hours later. Nothing really except maybe the chance for everyone to digest his dash at a high rate of on-ice speed. It definitely didn't go unnoticed by others wearing the Oil drop. Cam Talbot said it was incredible to see how fast McDavid went from a standstill to top speed. Oscar Klefbom was amazed at how the 20-year-old breezed by the Flames and made their defencemen look silly. 

I, you and anyone else who watches or has watched all the great skaters over the years has to be scratching their heads at the next great skater in the league. It's an ability that is partially God-given but as Todd McLellan said, it's something McDavid has worked on and continues to work on. The coach called the captain a 'self-motivator.' We spoke to Connor after the first period Wednesday night and @630Ched's Andrew Grose joked how Connor even does his interviews fast. Thankfully for me and everyone else, it's not quite as fast as he skates.

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