Calm down, Chicken Littles. Connor McDavid will be off the ice for an extended period, but the worst-case scenario of the wunderkind being unable to join Team Canada for the world junior championship is not expected to come to pass.
Fractures of small hand bones often require more time to heal than a break to a larger bone. It turns out, as per the Erie Otters' latest update, that the 17-year-old will miss more than a month of action. The expected absence extends right up to the start of Canada's final selection camp in mid-December, but does not extend to the tournament, which begins in 45 days.
Here is the Otters' release, in its entirety:
The Erie Otters announced on Wednesday that forward Connor McDavid suffered a fracture of the 5th Metacarpal bone on his right hand during last night’s game against the Mississauga Steelheads.
McDavid will not require surgery and is expected to miss the next 5-6 weeks of the Otters' schedule.
The issue of McDavid missing the camp is a trifle. Current Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau, due to a broken foot suffered while playing for the Saint John Sea Dogs, did not skate at the camp before the 2012 WJC and joined the team for the exhibitions. A rest might not even be the worst thing for the 17-year-old McDavid, who had a long playoff run in the spring with the Otters and also had the extra strain of playing in Canada's summer development camp. It's also not the type of the injury that is going to hurt his conditioning or stamina.
Otters managing partner Sherry Bassin, meantime, took the opportunity to defend his star for losing his composure.
“He got caught up in the emotion of the moment. He’d had enough,” said Bassin, who believes McDavid takes a lot of abuse in general and received some harsh slashes before his fight.
“Everybody’s telling their players to hit him. That’s the only way they think they can stop him.”
Speaking passionately, Bassin said the team does not encourage its stars to drop the gloves and downplayed the allure of fighting in junior hockey.
“People don’t come to see fights anymore. That’s a bunch of gobbledygook,” he said. “They come to see Connor McDavids.” (Sportsnet Hockey Central)
The Otters, whose status has kind of been lost in the shuffle, have 20 games (nearly one-third of the OHL schedule) between Wednesday and the conclusion of the WJC on Jan. 5. Erie, which is first overall in the OHL with 33 points in 18 games, was already braced to lose McDavid for nearly a month due to the world junior. It will just have to do so for a little longer.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.