June 25, 2024

Six Stanley Cup rings are owned by Mark Messier.

He’s also been a part of teams where it seems like there will never be another win.

A month into the NHL season, that was precisely where the Edmonton Oilers were.

After 12 games, the team’s record was 2-9-1, placing them 31st overall and eight points behind the second wild-card slot in the Western Conference.

After three months, Edmonton has entirely changed the course of events.

The Oilers are no longer a team that struggles to score consecutive goals, defend, or get a save, even though they had a 16-game winning run that ended Tuesday, one shy of the league record.

Rather, they have firmly returned to the discourse of contenders.

Regarding Edmonton’s superstar captain, “Connor McDavid is driving that bus,” Messier remarked. “Under this emphasis and under this glare, he has not faltered. His leadership has been put to the test in a variety of ways, and he may even feel more confident now.

“He’s going to come out of this a better and more complete player.”

Since 2021, Messier, who owns five Cups with the Oilers and one with the New York Rangers, has participated in panel discussions on ESPN’s NHL broadcasts.

After moving up the standings, the Oilers, who sacked head coach Jay Woodcroft in November and installed Kris Knoblauch in his place, are once again in a postseason position.

The past three months for McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the other players, according to Messier, should instill faith in the process.

It’s now a matter of repeatedly doing it through June.

“You have to have an unwavering belief in yourself,” said Messier, an NHL center inducted into the Hall of Fame who is usually considered the game’s finest captain throughout his 25-year career. It is imperative that you possess a steadfast faith in both the coach and the team culture you are fostering. After that, you need to have complete faith in the players in your immediate vicinity.

“Anything less than that will probably diminish your chances.”

The roller coaster that Edmonton has already experienced this season, having advanced to the 2022 Western Conference final before losing in the second round this spring, could be helpful, according to Messier.

The 15-time all-star admitted that there are “ebbs and flows and ups and downs, both emotionally and physically.” “During the playoffs, you are going to take a punch to the face. Adversity is a difficult moment to be tested if you have never faced it.

“They’ve undoubtedly reinserted themselves into the discourse.”

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