Costa Mesa, California – The first thing, Ken Hitchcock, noticed Connor McDavid Was the noise.
"The bank sniffs it out," said Hitchcock. "No time he gets a step on someone, the bank gets high."
The second thing Hitchcock observed about his all-world center was his ability to recharge the bank, a video game like restoring and breathing that he did not see since Sergei Zubov in Dallas.
"His recovery rate, cardio-wise, is astounding," said Hitchcock. "He is able to get back quickly and quickly, that's what we have to do, he can come every second shift if it stays 5 to 5."
Hitchcock said he was "really focused" on keeping MacDavid in tandem with Leon Draisaitl For the foreseeable future, something he can do because of the completeness of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Allows & nbsp; To drive its own line.
For McDavid, this is about the only thing that will remain the same in his new world under Hitchcock.
His new coach says the best player in the world has a lot to grow.
"My focus is going to be built its game from our end," said Hitchcock.
That is probably the least surprising that Hitchcock said in his two days on the job as the new Edmonton Oilers head coach with his reputation beforehand. He was notoriously demanding of his star players, from Mike Modano and Jeremy Renick to Rick Nash And Tyler Seguin.
His comments about MacDavid's new direction are a lightning rod for criticism on social media. Hitchcock is painted as a dinosaur, some say that MacDavid is not a part of the problem.
Hitchcock, which turns 67 next month, pushes back against his reputation.
Before you judge, listen to it.
"He needs to have the pack more," said Hitchcock. "As all our centers, because this is the strength of the team, I think we need to find ways to get them the more intense [in the defensive zone]. This will be the focus starting tomorrow in practice. "
The end result if McDavid buys in, Hitchcock said, is to "double" be touched in a game.
"That's what we want to do, get way more touches on our entire center of ice," said Hitchcock.
For a team that GM Peter Kerryelli recently did not have a B + level passer on the back end, which could be the only option – to get the pack in the hands of MacDavid and Co. as close to their target line as possible and let They take off.
"We're the fastest team in the NHL, but we can play fast," said Hitchcock. "We have to make too many playbacks, but the word in the dial is quick and I think it is an improper word, I think it is incredible. To look fast, look at the top themes, they find plots to create pockets to play fast and that's what we want to get. "
So, how will MacDavid react to be pocked, podcasted and pushed through Hitchcock? He said Tuesday was his first meeting Hitchcock. The two had never crossed paths. MacDavid became eight player in league history to net 100 goals and 170 assists before his 22nd birthday on Tuesday night.
Whilst Hitchcock, Toronto Maple Leafs Coach Mike Babcook said a player from MacDavid's Ilk will appreciate Hitchcock's straight-forward approach.
"I think the generational player wants honesty," Bobokok told reporters Wednesday. "That's why I'm honest, as the day goes on, I like people to be honest with me If my boss tells me what he wants, I have a chance to please him if he does No, it's hard. Hitch is going to let him know what he wants. "
Some observers say Hitchcock will want to propose encounters in order to play their system. Hitchcock does not buy it. He reflected to Segouun last year in his unique time in Dallas, when Seguin's point production was 72-78 points.
"I believe Tyler Seguin It was a perfect example of a guy who needed to change and embrace it, "said Hitchcock." He has a great offensive year and even a better defensive year. "
Hatching McDowell's speed is how Hitchcock plans to appeal to the most highly-evolved player in the history of NHL.
"I think it's just changing your value system and understanding that speed is a great weapon," said Hitchcock. "Not many players have it, if you use it without the pack, you will be more effective if you use it with the attitude that you can make print, turnovers and mistakes, and you can buy at that right away, The other team is nervous not only when you have the puck but when they have the puck. "
Hitchcock said McDavid was "two-thirds of the way there." He said McDavid and Draisaitl created about seven or eight turnovers in his first game behind the bench.
McDavid may be asked to change moving forward, but that does not mean that it will not be a conversation. Hitchcock has also evolved from the battles with stars over the years to learn to dress today's player.
For a cerebral player like MacDavid, which might involve some listening. Hitchcock is ready for that.
Just do not call him a dinosaur.
"It has been a lot of times over the past few years when we got into the discussions, and the player did not agree with me, and we continued to change, and we went through the halfway," Hitchcock said. "I think that's what coaching is today, you have to find them halfway – and you've probably got the most distance at the beginning of the conversation."
Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli