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Tortorella says McDavid must change his game to win in playoffs

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Not everyone is sold on Connor McDavid yet. 

McDavid is off to another hot start this season, leading the high-flying Edmonton Oilers and cementing his status as the best hockey player in the world.

But while McDavid has the Oilers looking like a contender, while showcasing his extraordinary skill on a nightly basis, he still has some around the league questioning whether his play can be as successful come playoff time.

Connor McDavid has yet to convince some that he can win in the playoffs. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Connor McDavid has yet to convince some that he can win in the playoffs. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

On ESPN’s The Point, former NHL head coach John Tortorella spoke about Edmonton’s captain and what he has to do to win a Stanley Cup.

“I do think he has to change his game a bit,” Tortorella said. “You’re not just going to fill the net and outscore teams in the playoffs; you have to play the other side of the puck.”

The 63-year-old might know a thing or two about winning in the NHL, coaching 1,383 games over a 20-year career and winning a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004.

Others around the NHL disagreed with Tortorella’s assessments.

In 21 career playoff games, McDavid has an impressive 22 points, but has never made it past the second round. Following a disappointing first-round sweep at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2021 playoffs, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native is looking to put together a deep postseason run and finally get the Oilers over the hump.

The 24-year-old is second in the league in points with 24 — two behind teammate Leon Draisaitl — and is tied for the league lead in assists with 15. He also submitted a strong goal-of-the-year candidate when he sliced through the New York Rangers for an astounding goal on Nov. 6.

Tortorella also likened McDavid’s career trajectory to Alex Ovechkin’s, one of the greatest players of this generation, who once struggled to succeed in the playoffs as well.

“I didn’t think they were ever going to win in Washington, but [Ovechkin] changed his game a bit and they ended up winning a cup,” said Tortorella.

Ovechkin led the Capitals to a Stanley Cup victory in 2018, after 13 years filled with second-round exits and playoff heartbreak. Many, like Tortorella, attribute his long-awaited conquest of the cup to Ovi's transformation into more of a two-way player.

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