EDMONTON – Connor McDavid's first cork emerged as a rookie six games after his return from that broken collarbone in November 2015.
It took a few games to get back to speed (deformation) – he only had seven points in five games when the Toronto Maple Leafs came to town for a game that decided 30th place in the National Hockey League standings. That's where these franchises were: Two days earlier, while in Calgary, the Leafs had traded their captain, Dion Phaneuf, to Ottawa.
"The problem for us is that Dion is ready to win now," said coach Mike Babcock. "And we are not."
The Leafs were fresh meat for McDavid, not unlike Colorado goalkeeper Adam Werner was at his second NHL game Thursday night in Edmonton. It was the first time McDavid had conjured up memories of Wayne Gretzky, who always illuminated his home team that day.
McDavid rolled through those Leafs like a Greta in the oil patch, scoring twice and racking up five points in the 5-2 Oilers win.
"Looking the other way and seeing this logo while warming up gave me the creeps," said 19-year-old McDavid, who grew up a Leafs fan. "So it was special to have a game like this against them."
That's when we thought this might not be the last of those nights when a hockey country goes to work the day after the coffee maker's question: "Did you see McDavid last night?"
"I heard a lot about him," marveled Toronto defender Jake Gardiner that night. “But really watching him play? He is very good. "
Along the way, McDavid didn't even think about his big nights, like all of us. He doesn't even put in the early morning highlights before bed, to borrow a phrase from Tragically Hip, just to see how alive you are.
"No, not at all," McDavid said on Friday. "We dress, we have Sportsnet and TSN right after breakfast, but I'm not a guy to watch."
We all saw the McDavid interviews. He hates talking about himself, or posing with records, as he did in the Oilers Twitter feed last night.
– Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 15, 2019
Look at him. He prefers to be anywhere else.
"I understand it's part of the job," he said. "But yes, I'm obviously a guy who doesn't like to talk about me too much or have too much recognition. So weird for me.
We asked Zack Kassian if he would be so humble after a six-point night.
"I'd be fired. I'd be a little different from that – he laughed." But he's been doing things like that since he was little. Same with Leon. They're two superstars, and after a game like this, they're one of the first guys here this morning at the gym, working out and excited about the next game. "
For the record, according to Erie Otters, McDavid has never scored more than six points in an OHL game. He now finds himself on a team that has three eight-point nights in its history, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey and Sam Gagner.
Heck, McDavid was 21 years old when Darryl Sittler had his 10-point night on February 7, 1976. But he has heard about it over the years.
"When I was six after the second, that's when you start thinking about crazy things like that," McDavid said. "I never thought about that, really. It's funny that you mention that."
He asked Gagner over breakfast what happened that night against Chicago when everything was happening to him.
"I asked him … how did his night start?" McDavid asked. “In fact, he said he had nothing in the first period and three in the second and then five in the third. That's pretty funny how it worked. Obviously, something was going well for him that night.
The Dallas Stars will attend a Saturday matinee and, as they say, it's time to move on from a six-point night, as fun as it was. But with McDavid and Draisaitl still at the height of the NHL, we'll be back here soon – probably soon.
"It's very nice," said Kassian. “Connor McDavid has four points at the end of the first period. Ends with six. Leon, the Human Apple, five assists. It's very impressive.
"Fun to be around."