Connor McDavid didn’t mince his words when asked post-game about Brandon Manning. He called the Flyers defenseman “classless” and said Manning admitted to injuring him on purpose.
Connor McDavid has had no shortage of head-to-head battles with young stars in the game. There has been outings against Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and more than handful per year against the Flames duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
But of all the players Connor McDavid could have had an on-ice feud with, it seems Brandon Manning is the first real rival for the Oilers phenom.
One might recall that it was during the early part of the 2015-16 campaign that Manning, a Philadelphia Flyers blueliner, got tangled up with McDavid as he looked to break in on goal, resulting in McDavid making hard contact with the boards behind the net. The impact with the boards saw McDavid break his collarbone and led to a 37-game absence for the then-rookie.
It was believed to be an unintentional act, something that simply happened as part of the game, and McDavid had even absolved Manning of any blame. That was until last night, more than 13 months after the Nov. 3, 2015 injury to McDavid..
During the Oilers’ hard-fought 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Flyers, McDavid was seen verbally jousting with Manning on a couple of occasions. The most obvious case came after a power play goal by McDavid, where he was seen skating towards Manning and shouting something in his direction.
It didn’t end there, though. Post-game, the Oilers captain went in on Manning, calling the hit that led to the broken collarbone an intentional act.
“I did all I could defending him last year in the media,” McDavid said. “Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and he wanted to say some comments today about what went on last year. I thought it was one of the [most] classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice. He said some things and our guys responded accordingly. I guess we can put the whole ‘if he did it on purpose’ thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that. Shows what kind of guy he is when he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys.”
Shortly after McDavid commented on the incident, Manning fired back saying that he would “never intentionally hurt someone,” and added that’s not the way he plays.
“Anybody who knows me, I play a hard game,” Manning said, according to NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman. “That’s the reason I’m here, that’s the way I’m in the NHL. I’m not here to score goals like some of those guys. I think I play an honest game, and anyone who knows me knows I play hard and stuff happens out there.”
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