How Near, How Far: McDavid Changes Everything, Nothing Changes

McDavid Changes Everything… . That’s self-evidently true.

And yet, the list of things that broke right for the Oilers this year that McDavid didn’t do are substantial and serve to remind one of the work that remains and that luck could just as easily take away as give.

Klefbom’s Ankle.

Oscar’s first season as an Oilers’ prospect was blemished with a nasty concussion and the injury history has piled up since then. Season after season trepidation mounted for eager fans as Oscar seemed determined to catalog every possible ailment. The apogee of worry hit last season after a seemingly routine wrist injury morphed into a freak staff infection of the ankle. Happy talk of a “lace bite” “re-infected” “cutting” “customized boot” etc., did everything to terrorize a fanbase so recently left disconsolate by Ryan Whitney’s ankle.

And yet, somehow, the Gords shined on Oscar’s ankle, special skate, and general wellbeing. He played all 82 games. I’m not sure he’s ever played every game in a season before.

And, we are only talking about his health. Oscar’s play could have found room for a lot more squish. He wouldn’t be the first young D to get sidetracked in his development.

Everyone was Healthy.

It wasn’t just Oscar. The number of key players that managed to play the entire (or nearly) season is astonishing:

There’s your top 6 forwards, top 3 defensemen and a pair of pretty useful utility forwards thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of Health.

Staying healthy helps to break a franchise Win record as a goalie.

Needless to say, a couple of key injuries to any of the names listed above and the Oilers’ season writes a different story. Especially in the case of Talbot, the Oilers are uniquely ill-prepared to face adversity with depth of position.

The unsung hero of the Oilers’ season is health. And health is not something a fan of an ebullient, violently life-affirming sport can call repeatable.


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