For the first time since fracturing his left clavicle on November 3 of 2015, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid practiced. He took part in a selection of light drills on Friday, starting 2016 in style and giving a little moral boost to a team in need.
“It feels good, it’s good to feel normal again and be out there with them,” McDavid said. “Obviously, it was a little lighter practice getting ready for tomorrow’s game, but it was still a lot of fun being out there with them.”
The Oilers will face off against the Arizona Coyotes at Rexall Place on Saturday afternoon.
McDavid has been out ever since he lost an edge on a shorthanded rush and crashed against the end boards in a contest against the Philadelphia Flyers. Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the rookie would be out “several months” and that timeline hasn’t been updated as of yet, but nearly every ounce of news out of the Oilers’ camp has been encouraging.
McDavid has been skating on his own for the past two weeks and has been able to handle the puck. He hasn’t been cleared for contact drills as of yet, but one has to expect that should change relatively soon.
“I look at it right now the way Connor carries himself and he carries himself really positively,” coach Todd McLellan said. “There is an energy to him, he handled the puck well [in practice], and he participated in the drills he could participate in. There was a smile on his face and he wants to do more. He looks pretty good.”
Because of the nature of the injury, McDavid has been able to keep skating throughout his recovery. He even said he was on the bike four days after surgery, which is a good indication of his resolve as a hockey player. By most accounts, he’s ahead of schedule as far as his overall recovery goes.
“There is a timeline that you try and follow and reach each check point or progression faster than the day they’ve set,” McDavid said. “I’ve been doing that for a little bit now, so I’m sure I’m ahead of schedule. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is, and you kind of have to be over that [frustration] phase now and have to start looking at the positives. It’s getting a lot closer to the end than it was then.”
The Oilers have 11 games before the All-Star break, which commences on January 28, and many believe he could be ready to go around that time.
In 13 games with Edmonton this season, McDavid has a dozen points.