JW: I went to see Connor McDavid play. You should too.
Friday night I made the short drive to Erie, PA to see the kid that many are calling "the Next Sidney Crosby". My advice to you? Get to Erie.
Connor McDavid turned 17 years old just a few days before his Erie Otters played the Kingston Frontenacs. The driving force behind the roadie down to Erie was to see McDavid play, while also getting a look at this year's #1 ranked North American skater Sam Bennett. As it turns out Bennett is injured, so I didn't get a chance to see him on the ice.
I did see McDavid. (Apparently I went on the perfect night, because Erie was shut out by Guelph on Saturday.)
If you're not quite familiar with McDavid, I'll give you the skinny:
Can the kid possibly live up to all the hype? Yes.
Friday night's game against London was a four point night for McDavid. He picked up four assists in a win for the Otters. He didn't get on the scoresheet by having a puck bounce off his skate to a teammate, or by ripping a shot that was poked in on the rebound. McDavid on all four occasions, skated into space, drew defenders, and fed a teammate who couldn't have possibly missed the wide open net.
Four assists, and he could have had six.
He's fast. He skates tremendously. In the first period McDavid took the puck from his own zone, through the Kingston defense in the neutral zone and ripped a shot just wide of goal. Had it gone in, I'm not sure I'd have been able to handle it. The speed with which he can turn on the jets is akin to Marquise Goodwin on that kick return against the Colts in the preseason. I think there's a whooshing sound that accompanies McDavid's top line speed. There was a "Holy BLEEP" from me. Apologies to the people around me at the Erie Insurance Arena that night but I swore. It was a Holy Bleep moment.
He's truly dominant. After the "Holy BLEEP" rush a gentleman in the row ahead of me peered back at me. I thought he might say something about my language. He simply said, "That's every game. EVERY game."
Watching McDavid play at the junior level is hilarious. He's so much better than everyone else that you have to see it to believe it. I don't know if he'll be the next Sidney Crosby, but he's so good that you owe it to yourself as a suffering sports fan to take a peek. You'll want the Sabres to stockpile their picks in 2015 just to have a sniff of the excitement that this kid is going to bring.
I'm not here to convince you of a 2015 tank. I'm telling you that hockey fans around the world should go to Erie, or Niagara, or London, or wherever to see this latest traveling show. This is Stephen Strasburg territory. You have the rest of this year, and next year as well.