Don’t look now hockey fans, but two of the best players in the world, both set to be potential rivals in an all-Canadian Division next season, are sharing the ice in workouts this week. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs are working together in an attempt to stay in shape and up their games, getting ready for the 2021 NHL season.
Related: Why a Canadian Division Might Not Solve All The NHL’s Problems
Both NHL superstars are in Arizona, skating four times a week and Elliotte Friedman is covering the story, noting that each player is quickly growing in admiration of the other’s skills.
Friedman writes that Matthews can’t help but notice that Connor’s “hockey IQ, speed, and edges are so impressive.” He adds that his vision at the speed he moves stands out during the practice sessions. Matthews notes, “it’s the whole package with him.”
Meanwhile, McDavid says of Matthews:
“When you watch his game, his shot is the first thing you notice. But, spending more time together, I’ve noticed just how smooth he is on the ice. It’s very impressive.”
Friedman was hoping to get some video of the two working together and writes the pair said that was not in the cards. Both politely declined and said they would only, “answer some questions via email.” But, McDavid did post a little glimpse of some of the work they were doing on his own Twitter feed.
When asked if there was one thing each player could take from the other, McDavid said, “Wish I had his shot, of course.” For Matthews, he wanted “97’s skating ability.”
Other NHLers are Joining In
Jonathan Toews joined the pair last week and other NHLers, including Jake Bean, Anthony Duclair, Matt Dumba, Alex Galchenyuk, and several Arizona Coyotes participated as well.
It’s great to see these players figuring out ways to get prepared and stay in shape, working together despite not knowing when the season will begin. And for fans who are shocked to hear about two on-ice rivals like Matthews and McDavid helping each other out, consider how much better each are about to get simply by working in close quarters with the other.
It’s not likely McDavid will ever shoot it as well as Matthews and Matthews will never be as fast as McDavid. Still, some of their unique skills are bound to rub off on the other.
Next: Where Oilers Sit With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Contract Extension
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