Connor McDavid is in California with the Edmonton Oilers. Whether he laces up Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings is another story.
McDavid, out of the lineup since Feb. 8 when he suffered a quadriceps injury against the Nashville Predators, practiced with the Oilers before leaving for California but remains listed as day-to-day.
The Oilers’ team captain said Saturday he isn’t sure he’s ready.
“You just want to be pain-free and feeling 100 percent, or as close to it as possible,” said McDavid, who is still fifth in NHL scoring with 81 points.
McDavid has missed six games since the injury, while injuries have also sidelined James Neal and Kris Russell. Neal took laps in workout gear Saturday, and Russell was in full equipment for practice Saturday.
The Oilers are 3-2-1 without McDavid.
“The guys feel like they can play anyone with anyone in the lineup,” he said. “It’s a real positive. The guys out of the lineup, they’re starting to get healthy and myself, I’m close. … I just want to come into the lineup and try not to mess things up.”
The Oilers head into the Los Angeles game after a 5-3 loss at home to the Minnesota Wild on Friday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and an assist, and Leon Draisaitl scored and had an assist. Kailer Yamamoto chipped in two assists.
Draisaitl leads the league with overall points, sitting at 97 with 62 assists. The ace playmaker has four goals and 12 points since McDavid was injured. Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said Saturday that McDavid isn’t focused on those numbers.
“He thinks about winning,” Tippett said. “He looks at where we are in the playoff race and how he’s going to help us win. I don’t think he’s thinking about scoring races, Hart Trophies or anything like that. He’s watched six games now, and he’s anxious to get back in there and help.
“He thinks the guys have worked awfully hard, and he wants to do his part. He’s going to jump in and do that. For him, it’s not about individual stuff. It’s about getting more points in the standings.”
McDavid or not, the Oilers may have a big advantage heading into the game against the Kings. The L.A. squad won’t be well rested after battling to a 2-1 shootout loss late Saturday to the Colorado Avalanche.
Overtime solved nothing for the Kings, who wrapped up the five-minute extra period with a power play. Austin Wagner scored the Kings’ lone regulation-time goal on a penalty shot, chipping a shot over the glove of Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz in the first period, but Los Angeles went dry in three shootout attempts.
Joonas Donskoi of the Avalanche was the only successful shooter in the shootout, lifting the Avs to the victory.
“We just didn’t do really smart things with the puck, and I thought we missed the net a ton,” coach Todd McLellan said after the game, in which the Kings had just 21 shots on goal. “I thought we deflected pucks or blocked pucks that never got to the goaltender’s pads.”
Earlier in the day, the Kings signed forward Martin Frk to a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season. The deal is worth $725,000 per year. Frk has five goals and six points in nine games with the Kings this season.
Frk had one shot on goal and two hits against the Avs. He was also unsuccessful for the Kings in the shootout, failing to get a wrist shot past Francoux.
–Field Level Media