The Edmonton Oilers are not ruling Connor McDavid out for Sunday’s NHL Heritage Classic after the captain sustained an injury on Saturday.
“I’ve learned when it comes to Connor that nothing’s off the table,” head coach Jay Woodcroft told reporters at Rogers Place on Monday, just under a week before the outdoor matchup against the Calgary Flames at Commonwealth Stadium.
McDavid sustained an “upper-body” injury late in the third period against the Winnipeg Jets. He didn’t play in overtime and the Oilers lost 3-2.
“We think it’s something a little bit more muscular than anything,” Woodcroft explained.
“Sometimes that just takes time. That’s good news. I take that as good news.”
With a record of 1-3-1, Woodcroft and key locker room figures agreed McDavid’s injury is an opportunity for other players to step up.
“Obviously [he’s] a big part of our team and our leader so we’re going to have to pick it up for him,” forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Monday. “Doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup, you have to pick up the pieces and go from there.”
With eight points, McDavid is only behind Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton. He led the league in points, goals and assists last season and was crowned the NHL’s most valuable player for the third time in his career.
“Nobody is going to fill his shoes,” forward Evander Kane said. “Tough to lose a player like that and how much he means to our group. [He’s] an integral part of all phases of our game. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
The Oilers play the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and New York Rangers on Thursday.
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