Connor McDavid concedes that Don Cherry has a point.
The Coach’s Corner icon appeared on Prime Time Sports Thursday and expressed concerns that the Edmonton Oilers rookie sensation might be trying too hard every shift. Such all-out effort ups the teenager’s probability of injury over the long term, Cherry said.
“There’s definitely room to hold back a little bit,” McDavid told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston Friday in Montreal.
“I try and play hard every night. I know it can’t always be that way and doesn’t always happen. There are definitely times to pick your spots and when not to – I think that just comes with age and learning the league a little bit better.”
Cherry, who has watched McDavid’s rise since the 2015 first-overall pick was a minor star in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, sees a parallel between McDavid’s effort and those of past stars who only knew one speed.
“I fear for him sometimes because he plays like Bobby Orr and Pavel Bure. He plays flat-out,” Cherry said on-air. “I predicted he’d get hurt the way he plays.”
Orr and Bure — both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame — played only 657 and 702 career games, respectively. Both retired due to complications from injuries suffered throughout their careers. No one wants to see McDavid suffer a similar fate.
“He’s so exciting and he has no fear,” Cherry said. “I just hope he doesn’t get hurt again because he’s a beauty to watch.”
In his two games since returning from a broken clavicle, McDavid has dazzled, putting up five points and rejoining the Calder Trophy discussion.
McDavid and the Oilers next take on the slumping Montreal Canadiens Saturday afternoon on Hockey Day in Canada.
(with files from Mike Johnston)