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As we know, Drake Caggiula and Connor McDavid went to the same Toronto-area high school.
“Yeah, 12th grade and ninth grade,” said Caggiula on a zoom call.
“So did Connor take you under his wing at some point?” a Chicago reporter asked Caggiula.
“Jeez, I hope not … I was the one in Grade 12. For him to take me under his wing I’d have been a little upset because I was a senior in school,” laughed Caggiula.
“But when I was leaving college (North Dakota) and I was trying to decide where to sign (free agent) I reached out to him and he gave me some pretty positive insight about Edmonton. That led to some of the reasons why I signed in Edmonton. As a young captain, despite being three years older, I leaned on Connor and asked him a lot of questions on how I could better my game.”
Caggiula, traded to Chicago for Brandon Manning, spent two and-a-half years with McDavid here in Edmonton.
“I obviously had a front row seat to see a world-class talent. His speed, the way he thinks the game is pretty much unlike anybody else. He’s one of the best if not the best player in the world,” said Caggiula.
“Are there any chinks in his armour you can tell us about?” Caggiula was asked.
“Uh, not that I know of. I’m sure he’s got a lot more to say about chinks in my armour.”
Caggiula’s fiance Laura Kirkpatrick is pregnant awaiting the birth of a boy.
When he has his wedding, yes; “there will be some Oilers there.”
SITTING ONE OUT
Caggiula watched Game 2 from a suite at Rogers Place, suspended after a high hit on Tyler Ennis in Game 1.
“I’m all for protecting guys heads especially as a player who’s had his own head injuries so I had no issue with the suspension … the only thing you can ask for is consistency around the league, making sure it’s the same for everybody,” said Caggiula, who sat while local product John Quenneville took his spot in the lineup. “I know what the standard is now and have no issue with it.”
Caggiula was part of the 2017 hoopla when Oilers fans were climbing on the players’ cars during the playoff ride, now it’s eerily quiet at Rogers Place.
“Yeah, you have a scramble in front of the net, and fans are usually oohing and aching and cheering and chaos ensues … sometimes you can build off that (fan noise) momentum,” he said.
NOW HE’S GOT TARGET ON HIS BACK
Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala, who had 14 goals and 26 points in his last 18 league games before the NHL pause, hasn’t slowed down. He has three goals, 19 shot attempts and 11 shots on net in the first two Vancouver games.
Former Wild GM Paul Fenton took lots of grief dealing crowd favourite Mikael Granlund to Nashville for Fiala. And now the Canucks have his name circled before the games, just like Minnesota and Elias Pettersson, who drew three penalties in Game 2.
It’s the price of being a go-to guy, realizing opponents like McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Nate MacKinnon in Colorado and Patrick Kane in Chicago have to fight through it constantly.
“This is a new thing for me and I kind of like it. If I draw players to me, I can make some plays. They can keep doing it,” said Fiala.
“The names mentioned are the stars, the best players in the league and they do it every night, every single game and it’s crazy how they still produce. I have a lot of respect for them,” he said.
Fiala got mad during the Tuesday game, showing his anger, also his age. He turned 24 July 22.
“I got a little frustrated and have to take that away,” said the Swiss-born winger. I have to stay off the refs and focus more.”
WAITING ON A PARTY
As SportsNet’s Pierre LeBrun wrote, it appears Kevin Lowe and Ken Holland will have to wait for their induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame. It was supposed to Nov. 16 in Toronto but with COVID and no way for a large gathering of people to listen to the acceptance speeches, the inductees could be feted in 2021 with that class of honourees.
ALL FRIENDS IN THE BUBBLE
Wild coach Dean Evason is tight with Vancouver counterpart Travis Green.
“We played together in the ’97 world championship and actually had a long conversation yesterday morning about our groups. We’re not giving each other secrets but you still talk to people, it’s not like the old days,” said Evason.
The 1997 Canadian team was an interesting mix.
Rob Blake and Don Sweeney, two current NHL GMs.
Evason, Green and Mark Recchi (Pittsburgh assistant).
“We’re in this bubble so you run into everybody … lots of coaches know each other from ex-playing days. We walk past Vancouver’s meeting room every day getting to our meal room, we’re seeing each other every day. It’s a unique experience but hasn’t taken way from the on-ice product,” said Evason. “I think everybody is surprised and excited about the level of energy and physicality in these series from the first drop of a puck. It’s exactly what we all wanted.
“And the ice in Edmonton has been absolutely fabulous, whomever is doing it, is doing a wonderful job with three games a day,” he said.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020