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It was unreasonable to expect Connor McDavid to publicly accept Conn Smythe Trophy after losing Game 7

Sports fans and media members are weird.

You can’t please them if you do, and you can’t please them if you don’t.

As it pertains to NHL superstar Connor McDavid, his inaction left a lot of folks displeased after the Edmonton Oilers lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Florida Panthers at Amerant Bank Arena on June 24.

Despite the Oilers’ best efforts to come back from being 3-0 down in the series, Florida survived and prevailed by a score of 2-1. However, McDavid was so dominant throughout the postseason, leading all players with 42 points (the fourth-most in NHL history), that he earned the Conn Smythe Trophy, an award given annually to the playoff MVP. McDavid became just the sixth player from a losing team to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

McDavid didn’t return to the ice to receive the award after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that he was the winner. Understandable, no? That just felt like the right thing to do at that moment. How would it look to publicly receive an individual trophy when you and your organization just lost the most important piece of team hardware in hockey? Besides all of that, I’m guessing McDavid wasn’t exactly in the mood to celebrate an individual honor. He’s the best hockey player in the world who was being counted on to carry his team to victory over a superior opponent, and he failed to register a single point in the most important game of his career. Not only was McDavid’s team counting on him, but so was the city of Edmonton, which hadn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1990. Not only was McDavid’s professional hockey city counting on him, but so was his country; a Canadian-based franchise hadn’t won the Cup since 1993.

Besides all of that, the crowd at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida (home of the Panthers), was chanting for goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to be named the Conn Smythe winner. As Bettman began to describe the postseason accomplishments of the winner, and as it became apparent that McDavid–and not Bobrovsky–would be the postseason MVP, the crowd started booing very loudly.

So, fans expected McDavid to not only come out onto the ice to receive an individual award after his team lost the decisive game of the Stanley Cup Final, but they wanted him to do so in front of a hostile crowd?

That seems like a lot to ask of one person. Yes, I realize McDavid makes a lot of money, but he’s still a human being.

Also, who are we kidding? if I know my sports fans and media like I think I do, there is no doubt in my mind that many would have loudly criticized McDavid had he skated out onto the ice to receive the Conn Smythe Trophy after losing Game 7.

I can just hear it now: “So, we’re celebrating individual honors, now? Where was McDavid when his team needed him the most?”

In conclusion, I know countless sports fans who can’t even bring themselves to re-watch a game decades after one of their teams lost a heartbreaker. If you take a loss that hard as a spectator, imagine how difficult losing is for those who make playing sports their life’s work.

Connor McDavid did what he felt was right in the moment, and hockey fans and the sports media need to get over it.


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