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Connor McDavid Is Bored By The Remarkable

Connor McDavid scores the overtime game winner against Jordan Binnington
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

From a distance, most hockey players are pretty indistinguishable. Unless you're watching one of those teams with a guy who stands like 6-foot-8 without skates, you're going to need to use numbers, announcers, and/or context clues to know who has the puck at any given time. But even if I left my glasses on the train or just woke up from a nap with the TV on mute, I wouldn't have needed any help whatsoever to know who's scoring on this aerial replay from Wednesday night.

That unparalleled motion—the way he seems to understand the path to the destination before it even clears, how he carves up the defense with a butcher's eye and a falcon's predatory quickness—can be nobody but Connor McDavid.

The first contestant, Robert Thomas, just kind of goes "Ah, help!" as McDavid zooms by. The Blue on the left-hand side, Jordan Kyrou, can't do much more than spin in place and deny McDavid the most direct path to the goal. The third defender, Colton Parayko, isn't quick enough to get across the ice to block the attempt. And while Jordan Binnington got a piece of the puck with the edge of his jersey sleeve, McDavid deserves credit for his accuracy on that cross-net shot.

Transcendent athletes often struggle to wrap their accomplishments in words. What is almost as impressive to me as the highlight itself is the way McDavid almost dismissed it in the postgame as some ho-hum drudgery.

“I was pretty tired, [Mattias Ekholm] was pretty tired,” he said. “I kept giving it back to him and I felt bad for him, he was just trying to get off the ice. He kind of gave it to me there and I just tried to give it one last dash. There was not much going on that play, I just tried to get it to the net somehow and fortunately that went in.”

Such is the life of Connor McDavid, for whom the extraordinary is mundane, that the season he's delivered so far feels a tad underwhelming even as he ranks third in the NHL in points. On the Oilers, Zach Hyman has taken over as the guy who shoots the most, leading the team with 40 goals, while McDavid is scoring at his slowest pace since the first two years of his career. The assists are there—he notched 25 of them between his last goal on Feb. 6 and this one. But he gets paid primarily to score. After a year in which he produced 64 goals, and during a stretch where top-heavy Edmonton is trying to keep its balance, the hope is not that he's transformed into the world's most selfless superstar. The Oilers want him to own the ice, obliterate the defense, exhaust the goal-horn operator. When it's McDavid vs. the mortals, like it was at the end last night, they like their odds.

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