Connor McDavid apparently has a bone to pick with the man who caused him to miss 36 games as a rookie.
The Edmonton Oilers forward’s otherwise impressive 2015-16 campaign was marred by a broken collarbone he suffered in November after getting tangled with Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning and slamming hard into the boards.
Not much more was made of the incident until Thursday night’s Oilers-Flyers matchup, when McDavid scored in the second period and appeared to have some words for Manning as he celebrated.
So, why the animosity? According to McDavid, Manning admitted to the 19-year-old captain that he tried to injure him on purpose last season.
“I did all I could defending him last year in the media,” McDavid said of Manning, via Yahoo! Sports. “Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and he wanted to say some comments (Thursday) 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.”
That’s a bold accusation from McDavid, who last season called Manning’s hit simply an “unlucky play.” The Flyers defenseman denied McDavid’s claim.
“Anyone who’s seen the clip sees him catch an edge,” Manning said, via Yahoo! Sports. “I would never intentionally hurt someone. Anybody who knows me knows I play a hard game; that’s the reason I’m in the NHL. I think I play an honest game.”
Manning got the last laugh Thursday in Philly’s 6-5 win, but these teams meet again on Feb. 16, so this beef might not be over yet.
Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images