Let McDavid Mania start for real in Buffalo.
Yes, we're still months away from the 2015 NHL Draft. But we're only two months away from seeing the so-called Next Great One, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, taking the ice at First Niagara Center.
The particulars on the Sabres' announcement Thursday: McDavid's Otters will meet the Niagara Ice Dogs in an Ontario Hockey League regular season game on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in First Niagara Center. Tickets go on sale Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. at the FNC box office or Tickets.com.
All seats will be reserved at $15, or $10 for Sabres season-ticket holders, who will have a special pre-sale date. The team is initially selling 100 and 200 level tickets only, although Sabres president Ted Black said they'll sell all 19,700 seats if demand warrants. And by late October, of course, the restaurants at HarborCenter should be up and running too.
But the star of today's show was clearly McDavid, who was swarmed by media looking for any thoughts on the Sabres. And he was more than forthright.
"It's pretty cool," McDavid said of the chance to play an OHL game in an NHL rink. "I've been to a couple Sabres games It's a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here. They're great. And I'm really excited to play here with my team.
"It's a great organization from what I've seen. I know Cody Hodgson pretty well and I hear nothing but good things. They love playing here. Sam Reinhart was so proud and so happy when he got drafted here. It's a great organization and it would be an awesome spot to play."
McDavid, of course, and Boston University center Jack Eichel are clearly the centers of the NHL's lottery rule changes announced yesterday to discourage teams from tanking so they get a higher pick. McDavid laughed when asked what he thought about that change.
"It's pretty crazy. I don't think too many teams are throwing seasons," McDavid said. "I don't think that's how hockey works. I don't think that's how anyone who plays hockey thinks. Owners, GMs, coaches, players. No one just throws games away. It's not how it works. Maybe it's just a bit of a coincidence I guess but we'll see how it goes."
More nuggets from McDavid:
On Sabres first-round pick Sam Reinhart: "He's for sure a good guy to model yourself after. He's a great leader. He's been my captain at two different events. He's a good guy, a great role model."
On Sudbury Wolves winger and World Junior camp teammate Nick Baptiste, a rising star in the Buffalo organization: "He's a legit goal scorer. He can flat-out fly. He's one of the fastest skaters I've seen at this age. The Sabres had a steal picking him in what the third round? That's an absolute steal. He's a great player, great guy and I can see him wearing the Blue and Gold sometime soon for sure."
On playing against Sabres defenseman and London Knights opponent Nikita Zadorov: "It's not a whole lot of fun. He's a pretty big body, a great player."
Here's McDavid's complete session with the media below: