Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is not happy with the NHL's decision to reschedule a game against the Calgary Flames directly after a memorial service to late Edmonton teammate Colby Cave on Saturday.
The Oilers fell 5-0 in the Battle of Alberta only hours after a remembrance for Cave, who died in April 2020 at age 25 as a result of a brain bleed.
“I think you’re asking a lot from guys to sit through something like that and remember your teammate and see what they’re going through – their whole family -- and expect to perform that night,” McDavid told reporters. “I’m not sure what the league was really thinking there.”
A number of COVID-19 postponements throughout the North Division have forced the NHL to reconfigure the schedule in order to finish a full, 56-game season on time.
That meant moving Saturday's game against Calgary to April 10 after originally slating the contest for May 7. The NHL's decision came days after Cave's widow, Emily, announced the Oilers would be participating in the memorial service on the same day.
Edmonton hosted the service at Rogers Place and live-streamed the memorial on the team website.
The Oilers then had to head to Calgary for a rivalry game with major implications in the standings.
“Some days are a little bit more than just about hockey,” McDavid said. “Obviously the performance wasn’t there [against Calgary], but today is about Colby and his memorial and celebration of life.”
Edmonton head coach Dave Tippett clearly agreed.
After the emotional toll Saturday took on the team, the coach announced he was giving players the next two days off. The Oilers are next scheduled to play the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, April 16, at Rogers Arena.
“There’s times you can tell your team just doesn’t have it and there isn’t enough energy in the group," Tippett said. "And tonight was one of those times."