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Leon Draisaitl (and Connor McDavid) to blame
Credit: Getty Images

I imagine you watched game 7 last night. I can’t wait to get the ratings for this ultimate duel between the Oilers and the Panthers broadcast on TVA Sports; I’ll have them during the afternoon.

I also assume you know that the Panthers won the Stanley Cup. I say that because, if you didn’t know, and you’d been on Justin Trudeau’s Twitter account, you might think the Cup was back in Canada.

Although there were plenty of Canadian fans in Florida last night, it was the American crowd that left the arena with big smiles on their faces. Alberta will have to resign itself to celebrating Connor McDavid’s Conn-Smythe Trophy, that’s it.

If, of course, anyone thought of picking it up and giving it to McDavid in the last few hours…

I say that just the same, but Jean-Sébastien Giguère and Ron Hextall had accepted it that very evening…

10 days ago, I wrote a text entitled C’est la faute à Connor McDavid (et Leon Draisaitl).

The very next day, McDavid had the first of two consecutive four-point games. So it was thanks to McDavid that the Oilers were still alive.

Then, McDavid was cleared from the scoresheet in games #6 and #7 of the final series. The two most important games…

In short, the Edmonton Oilers are Connor McDavid. When they’re doing well, it’s because Connor’s doing well. And when they’re not, it’s simply because Connor isn’t.

We saw it again last night.

Yesterday, McDavid spent nearly 26 minutes on the ice. But he was unable to score a single point. Sergei Bobrovsky and the Panthers defense were out playing hockey. Well, some might say

Frankly, it looked like McDavid had nothing left in the tank. The magic was gone. Playing 25 minutes a game for eight months wears a man down.

McDavid missed many of his passes, feints, shots and actions in general. It’s up to him to turn this pain and disappointment into learning and motivation for next year. If the Panthers have just done it, he’s capable of it too.

But he’s going to need help, Connor. 42 points in 25 playoff games is incredible… but you have to be able to count on other offensive pieces of the team.

Evan Bouchard was excellent in the back, Zach Hyman scored 16 goals n 25 games… but Leon Draisaitl didn’t finish his playoff run well. Unlike McDavid (plus -12), Hyman (plus -12) and Bouchard (plus -14), Draisaitl posted a cumulative playoff differential of 0.

He hasn’t scored a goal in his last nine games, which means he hasn’t found the back of the net once against the Panthers (three assists in seven games).

In short, it’s Leon Draisaitl’s (and Connor McDavid’s) fault that the Oilers aren’t champions this morning. The Oilers’ best players were no better than the Panthers’ yesterday.

Will the rumours that Leon Draisaitl could leave Alberta this summer come true? If so, it’ll be hard for McDavid to come back next year.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn in the next few hours that Draisaitl was playing through a hand injury. He just didn’t have the same release in the final.

The hardest win to come by
The fourth win of a series is always the hardest to come by. The Panthers had to do it four times, and the Oilers choked on their only attempt.

Yesterday, however, was the first time in the spring tournament that the Panthers had their backs against the wall. They had never conceded three wins to their opponents. Human nature being what it is, they fought for their survival… something they hadn’t done in the previous three games.

At least the Oilers avoided humiliation by winning the series in seven games, rather than losing it in four. And that made our Prime Minister proud…

The Conn-Smythe Trophy is the talk of the town
Had he had the right to vote, Michel Villeneuve would not have awarded the MVP to Connor McDavid. Villeneuve’s choice would have been Bobrovsky (despite his more difficult performances in the middle of the series).

There were 17 journalists voting for the Conn-Smythe and not one Ryan S. Clark (ESPN) had Bobrovsky at the top of his podium.

You’ll notice that Jim Matheson, a journalist who’s been covering the Oilers since 1973, seems to have voted more with his heart than with his head. He didn’t put a single Panthers player on his list (McDavid, Hyman and Bouchard).

No cheering in the press box, doesn’t that apply in Alberta?

Extension

– A little thought for Corey Perry this morning, who lost yet again in the Stanley Cup Final. He was so close…

– Another thought for Jonathan Huberdeau, who saw his former team lift the precious trophy. Huberdeau is currently in the Montreal area. He was seen at Club de Golf le Mirage, as well as spending time with Flames coach Ryan Huska.

– LOL to all those who described Sergei Bobrovsky’s counter as the worst in the league a few years ago… who thought replacing Andrew Brunette with Paul Maurice was a monumental blunder… or who laughed at the Panthers the day they drafted Aleksander Barkov just before Jonathan Drouin!

– In the end, the $10.5 million goalie won out over the $2.6 million one.

– I liked the little Canadian touch (Alanis Morissette) given by the Panthers before the game. However, the U.S. still got the better of Canada on the ice…

– The NHL draft is three days away, and the Oilers have yet to identify a GM to take part. Ken Holland’s contract expires in the next few days, and all indications are that Jeff Jackson (President) will run the show in Edmonton. Stay tuned.

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