This is what I’ve been waiting six months for. Though there were some questions about the health of his knee, which he injured in Edmonton’s season finale back in April, Connor McDavid returned to the ice in style on Wednesday night, scoring the game-winner on the first night of the season as the Oilers beat the Canucks, 3-2. With the score tied at two with five minutes to play, McDavid made the highlight reel with his trademark move—being a hell of a lot faster than anybody else. He entered the offensive zone with the puck and just completely split the defense, speeding towards goal like he was a VIP in Canucks territory. Once McDavid arrived, Jacob Markstrom had no chance at the save, and hockey was officially back in Edmonton.
As a team, there’s no real reason to be optimistic about the Oilers—79 points last year, 78 the year before that. But the continual brilliance of Connor McDavid (and to a lesser extent, Leon Draisaitl) is enough to keep sucking me in. Living on the East Coast, where most Oilers games start at 10 p.m., McDavid is the king of midnight—a guy whose team I watch right before bed not necessarily because I have any hopes about their future success, but just because I know how high the chances are that I’ll see something special. I don’t care what Calgary or Vegas or San Jose has to say about it—as long as Connor’s playing, Edmonton is the top attraction in the Pacific.