Connor McDavid says he’s not going to win. But thanks.“It’s nice,” said the two-time Art Ross, two-time Ted Lindsay and one-time Hart Trophy-winner of being named finalist for the Hart this year unlike last year.“I obviously don’t expect to win. But a lot was made last year of the whole no playoff thing. So, thanks.“Obviously I’m in the same boat this year so I was kind of not expecting being up for it,” he added returning the columnist’s call Monday after the three finalists had been announced the night before.“I’ll definitely take it. Being named to the top three is obviously pretty special. I’ll definitely take a free trip to Vegas,” he added of NHL Awards Night June 19 where he’s also up for a third consecutive Lindsay.“I don’t think I’ll win either award but it’s still special to be up there for either award.“With the passing of Mr. Lindsay this year that one is extra special and having the players vote for that one obviously means the world. And the Hart speaks for itself. It’s the award you want to win. It’s pretty special to be up for both.”McDavid is up against Nikita Kucherov for both as well as Sidney Crosby for the Hart and Kucherov and Patrick Kane for the Lindsay.“The Lindsay is unpredictable. I didn’t think I was going to win last year either.“It’s kind of how the players are feeling. But it’s pretty hard to argue against the year Kucherov had and the year Kane had. You could make a case for both those guys for sure. It’ll be one of those wait and see type of things.”McDavid laughed when I mentioned that the three finalists, that also include Tampa Bay Lightning scoring champion Kucherov and Pittsburgh Penguins’ Crosby who both made their exits in four-game first round upset. Thus all three have the combined total of zero wins in the playoffs this year.“So I guess that puts us all on even ground, right?”He seemed to be only half joking.“A lot has been made about if you’re not in the playoffs. I don’t think it should matter too much, but that’s obviously trying to make a case for myself. There are obviously lots of opinions about it.”The Hart is awarded to the player judged to be most valuable and is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The Lindsay goes to the player voted most outstanding by members of the NHL Players Association.If either comes down to Kucherov vs McDavid, the Lightning right-winger had 128 points compared to McDavid’s 116. McDavid played four fewer games.The voting was conducted for both awards at the end of the regular season. If it were voted on after the first round, it might have been an entirely different result when it came to either award.Kucherov sits 169th in playoff scoring with two assists and Crosby 208th with one assist. Like McDavid, Kane didn’t make the playoffs.Like everybody else in hockey, McDavid was stunned by all the upsets in the first round.“It’s been crazy. It’s been very unpredictable. It makes it even more disappointing not to be involved just because how unpredictable it’s been,” said the Edmonton Oilers captain.“You just have to get in. You never know what could happen. You look what Colorado has been able to do. Columbus is in it. It’s been pretty special to watch.”When I asked McDavid for an injury update on his knee injury from the final game of the regular season, he wasn’t quite as candid.“I’m not going to comment too much on it. It’s a work in progress. I’m working away at it. But overall, it’s feeling pretty good.”It is significant enough, he concedes, that it will change his summer.“Yeah, it’ll change it a lot. I have to keep rehabbing it. I’m just hoping I can get back on the ice with enough time left this summer to work on the things I want to work on.“Right now that’s out of my control right now. It’s wait and see but we have a lot of time here.”It’s the only silver lining he can think of about missing the playoffs again.
Latest Oil Spills podcast: Oilers GM hunt remains in focusHost Craig Ellingson talks to hockey beat writers Rob Tychkowski and Derek Van Diest about the ongoing Edmonton Oilers’ search for a new general manager, which is rumoured to have been whittled down to a handful of candidates.