It led to something entirely different for the Philadelphia Flyers defenceman who went down with him.
Manning said he was the target of some hateful words — even death threats — following the on-ice crash that interrupted McDavid’s promising rookie campaign just a few weeks in.
“There was stuff on Twitter and everything, all kinds of threats,” Manning, 25, told Philly.com Wednesday.
“People were saying they hope I get AIDS. All kinds of stupid stuff.”
Manning’s Flyers will face 19-year-old McDavid and the Oilers Thursday night for the first time since the incident. Manning, who is expected to be a healthy scratch for the game, said he was able to shrug off the comments.
“Canadian fans are passionate, and I don’t think it would be any different with Flyers fans if they saw that one of our guys went down like that. So it wasn’t a big deal to me.
“It’s just part of the game,” he said. “I mean, there’s people that say you play bad when you play good and vice versa.”
The crash was regarded by many in the hockey world as simply a “hockey play gone bad” — no foul play involved.
“He just went outside on me. I pivoted to take him wide, and [Michael Del Zotto] came across to try to hit him,” Manning said. “Anybody who watches the replay can see [McDavid] clearly catches an edge before anybody even touches him. He actually brought me down with him. I fell because he fell.”
McDavid made his return on Feb. 2 after a 37-game absence and wasted no time getting back to his Calder-calibre play. He has seven goals and 19 points in 15 games since coming back and currently leads all rookies with 1.11 points per game.
According to the Courier-Post, McDavid is not placing blame.
“I don’t really think it was a hit or anything like that,” McDavid said Thursday. “It was just an unlucky play. I don’t really want to get into it too much, but for him to get death threats or anything… I don’t really know what that was about.”
The Oilers went 14-18-5 without McDavid in the lineup.
Also of note, Thursday marks the first meeting between McDavid and Flyers’ rookie defenceman Shayne Gostibehere, who ranks third overall in points-per-game with 0.80.
“It’s going to be fun,” Gostisbehere said. “Just facing [Jack] Eichel the other week was pretty fun. They’re both tremendous players.”