Unstoppable, unmissable Connor McDavid reaches the Stanley Cup Final. Don't blink

EDMONTON – You're Miro Heiskanen. You're probably the greatest defensemen on the earth. And not this contemporary “defenseman” who is essentially a fourth forward on the ice and gets most of his Norris Trophy votes within the attacking zone. You're a defenseman. You play, man. Better than probably all but a handful of other players alive today. You know what you're doing on the market.

So if you see Connor McDavid take a pass from Leon Draisaitl, you prepare accordingly. You know his speed. You know his shot. You know his creativity. And when he out-shoots Sam Steel—a superb penalty killer, mind you—on the skin by simply plowing through a helpless stick check, you begin to show to the skin. McDavid goes to the skin to attack the goal from the side. Maybe he tries to stuff the ball within the corner, possibly he tries to spin across the cage and do a wraparound, possibly he tries one among those sharp-angle reverse VH busting shots which are all the fad as of late. But he goes to the skin.

He can't do anything, can he?

Suddenly McDavid stops dead in his tracks and it's over. You're done for. You should twist your neck 90 degrees to the left to even see the guy and all you see is a blue-orange blur disappearing out of your peripheral vision. You form of stick your butt out in a futile try and throw him off balance, but he's already pulled the puck back and dragged all of it the way in which across your body, squeezing like a seasoned caver through an impossibly narrow path between you and Steel, who continues to be hopelessly attempting to catch as much as you.

By the time you whip your head around and desperately slap one hand within the direction you’re thinking that—guess? hope?—McDavid is, the puck is in the online, McDavid having shoveled it with pinpoint accuracy over the left shoulder of Jake Oettinger—not a foul goalie himself. Not a wrist shot. Not a clean backhand shot into the open field. Not a diving shot. A shovel shot. The guy looked like he was mucking out a stable at Belmont, and yet he pulled off an ideal, unstoppable, incredible shot.

Once you've turned all the way in which around, all you’ll be able to do is slump your shoulders and provides a half-hearted shrug. Steel, Esa Lindell and Wyatt Johnston stand around within the crease, exchanging wordless glances as if to say, “What the hell just happened?”

“I tried to get to the middle of the rink, and I thought that was the best way possible,” McDavid said, literally shrugging his shoulders.

Yes, well.

McDavid delivered a neat little pass to establish Zach Hyman's power-play goal later in the primary period, enough for a 2-1 Game 6 victory that sent the Dallas Stars home. That's the way you win a game during which you may have 35-10 shots on goal, a record low in shots allowed and a record high in shot differential on a decisive play in a series. That's the way you beat back-to-back division champions to succeed in the Stanley Cup Final. That's the way you get one step closer to the unimaginable hype that brought you into the league nearly a decade ago. Well, that and a penalty kill that by some means prevented 28 straight power plays, and a goalie in Stuart Skinner who’s playing way above expectations, and a coach in his first 12 months in Kris Knoblauch who has pushed all the precise buttons, and one other of the five best players on the earth in Draisaitl on the identical power-play unit as you, and, well, OK. The Edmonton Oilers have rather a lot to supply.

But every team has rather a lot to supply this time of 12 months. But they don't have McDavid. Nobody has him. Nobody ever has. And finally, after nine seasons of this human highlight reel GIF toiling within the relative obscurity of northern Alberta—as far-off from American prime-time television as possible, because of the overall lack of foresight of American rights holders—McDavid can ply his trade, flying and dodging in front of the widest possible audience.

He deserves it and the hockey world deserves it. We all need to see the very best on the most important stage.

Best of all time? Well, hockey protocol dictates that a Stanley Cup is a prerequisite to entering that discussion, so possibly we'll should wait a number of more weeks. Or, you understand what, possibly we won't. Look, there's all the time a recency bias, but have a look at what an NHL goalie looked like within the early Eighties, all 5 feet tall, playing that awkward stand-up style with scrawny little pads. Imagine what that McDavid would do against those goalies, against all of the pylons that used to populate the league. Sure, he'd get poached every night by the fourth-line sluggers that used to roam the hockey world like lumbering dinosaurs, but could they even get into the guy's neutral zone?

It sounds completely excessive to say that nobody else within the history of the sport could have scored that goal in that manner, but is it really? Why will we all the time feel compelled to self-police, to qualify, to laze, to procrastinate? This is a talent we've never seen before, doing things we never thought possible. It's hockey heresy to say McDavid is the best hockey player of all time, just because it's hockey heresy to say he's even the best Edmonton Oiler of all time. Wayne Gretzky was essentially the most dominant athlete within the history of North American team sports. Period. One of a form. The best profession of all time.

But could he do it?

Can we at the least acknowledge that McDavid is essentially the most talented, gifted, and amazing hockey player of all time? That's not an exaggeration. That's obvious. That's right in front of us. Say it out loud. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Celebrate it. What a time to be a hockey fan. What a time to be alive.

“That was beautiful – I've seen that before, but beautiful,” Draisaitl said with a serious expression as a whole bunch of excited fans chanted “We want the Cup!” and rattled the windows that look from 104 Avenue into the Oilers' press conference room at Rogers Place. “There is one player in the world who can make something like that happen.”

A player. A player on this game. In this league. In this world. Maybe within the history of this sport.

The grandest stage awaits you and you simply should see it to consider it. That's all the time the case with McDavid.

image credit : www.nytimes.com