Connor McDavid on facing Jack Eichel: ‘It’s not me versus him’

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Clashes on the ice between Canada and the U.S. have made for some thrilling, bitterly contested New Year’s Eve games at previous world junior tournaments. Wednesday’s match-up has the added drama of Connor McDavid versus Jack Eichel.

Both players, expected to be the top two picks in next June’s NHL Draft, tried to downplay that highly anticipated meeting, which is what you’d might expect with such a hyped storyline.

“At the end of the day, it’s not me versus him. It’s the U.S. versus Canada,” said McDavid, as per the National Post.

“It’s not at all about me and Connor. It’s a huge matchup for the top seed in the bracket. It’s Canada vs. the U.S.,” said Eichel, as per the QMI Agency.

True. The rivalry between these two hockey nations is bigger than both players. The stakes in this case – Canada leads Group A with nine points while the U.S. trails with eight points – are high with top spot in the group on the line as the preliminary round comes to an end.

But, come on. It is also about McDavid versus Eichel. Who are we kidding?

As of Tuesday, McDavid has one goal, three points and 10 shots on goal in three games, while Eichel has one goal, two points and 14 shots on goal in three games.