When the mood is high, time will fly by, so whistle while working,” urged a famous song in the 1937 Disney animated film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. For NHL players who write children’s books, this is an appropriate mantra. As far as we know, Zach Hyman does not whistle at work, but according to people who work hard with him, he does everything.
Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippet called Hyman “very positive, a full of energy, with a smile on his face, it seems that he is always in a good mood, is a sincere, very good People.” Nurse Darnell, the guard, described Hyman’s optimistic personality and professional ethics as “contagious.” So, what makes Hyman falter now?
This may start from the 7-year $38.5 million contract he signed last summer, becoming the first-line left-wing winger of the Oilers. He is particularly lively because he can share a route with the greatest hockey genius of this generation, and perhaps anyone else: Connor McDavid, the superstar’s scoring speed since the mid-1990s, Mario Lemieux Never seen since torn.
After Hyman signed the contract, did he start to fantasize about skating with No. 97? Of course. Isn’t it?
“All the time,” Hyman said, jokingly saying “don’t sleep on” superstar center Leon Dresettel. “This is a major factor in my choice of Edmonton. Obviously Connor is very special. He is doing something unheard of. It is definitely my choice of Edmonton to become a part of his career and possibly play with him. One reason. Of course, you are excited about the beginning of this year. In your mind, you will plan out who you can play with.”
For 29-year-old Hyman, Edmonton’s appeal is undeniable. But there is also a kind of “push” at work. In his career, the divorce with his hometown team Toronto Maple Leafs became very meaningful. why?
First of all: the pain on the ice. He withdrew from the 2020-21 season and experienced the most devastating situation in a series of disappointments in five years that most players on the team said. The Leafs won the temporary reorganization of the North District, which guaranteed the qualification of the four teams in the Stanley Cup playoff finals. They opened the playoffs in an informal way, which is their best Stanley Cup odds in 15 years. Minutes after the first game of their first-round series against Montreal, the Leafs captain John Tavares suffered a head injury and a head injury, grabbing from Habs’ right-wing winger Corey Perry. Lived on a wrong knee and was lifted off the ice by a stretcher.
Looking back at the terrible event that prevented Tavares from making the playoffs, Hyman admitted that the first game was a knockout. The Heart of the Leafs was with their captain, hockey became secondary and they lost that game. They counterattacked a 3-1 series lead, but eventually choked on the ice at home in Game 7.
This means that Hyman has been out of the first round for five consecutive times. Nothing is more hurt than in 2021.
“Last year’s defeat in Toronto, for us, was the worst I have ever experienced,” Hyman said. “We are as close as ever, we have a chance to win the series, and our path to the finals and possibly winning is right there. I thought we had a great team. This team has been among the best in the North all year. I think We can beat anyone. Missed the opportunity, but I don’t want to watch (the rest of the playoffs). It’s too difficult. But that’s hockey. You played that series more than 100 times, and I think the result is better for us. “
Hyman wanted to keep the leaves for most of last season. “Question”: He played too well in his UFA walking year. He scored 15 goals and 33 points in 43 games, creating the best averaging data of his career, while showing an inspiring and stubborn style in all situations. The contract signed with Brendan Gallagher, who is similar in age and technology but versatile, is comparable to a six-year, $39 million contract signed in October 2020. It is clear that Hyman can Won a long-term contract, more than doubling the AAV of $2.25 last season, more than 10,000 yuan in the open market.
The Leafs have spent more than $40 million on their star forward quartet Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, and they need to make room to sign a goalkeeper and extend the contract of guard Morgan Rielly. The disastrous playoffs gave birth to the urgency of reshaping the lineup. The Leafs allowed Hyman to talk to other teams, which he appreciated.
Instead of taking risks Groundhog Day In the Toronto scene, he got himself excited about playing elsewhere.
“I said to my wife: change is good,” Hyman said. “When you stay in one place for so long, from a personal point of view, things are still stagnant. I know my role in Toronto, I know what I can do in Toronto, and then it’s like, well, if I What about going elsewhere? How many games can I develop? Can I be a better player in that situation? So you start thinking about these things. For me, the best hockey game is Edmonton.”
Edmonton also represents an exciting personal Suitable for Hyman. This may be surprising given that he was born and raised in Toronto, where he met his wife Alannah Mozes, most of their close family and friends live there, and he usually thinks this is a wonderful blessing . But being away from all personal relationships provides a better opportunity to immerse yourself in the sport.
“It’s nice to go to a city where you don’t know so many people,” Hyman said. “You don’t have so many obligations. You can focus on your family, your hockey, and your job instead of being pulled in a million different directions. Although these directions are good, they can be annoying at times. Obviously, It’s good to play in your hometown, but it’s also good to go somewhere else where you are quiet with your family, focus on your craft and go all out.”
The Oilers also all bet on him. As Tipitt explained, they “did a lot of homework” on Hyman. Oilers assistant coach Brian Wiseman (Brian Wiseman), who served as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan, helped Hyman spend four years of his career there, and knew directly that he could bring Edmonton what. Faced with the Leafs nine times in the North Division last year, the Oilers also have a lot of views on the NHL version of Hyman.
“We know very well what we got,” Tippet said. “When you watch and coach him from a distance, you will understand that he is in a lot of situations. He provides the coach with so many talented things he can do: penalty kicks, strong play, critical moments in the game, In some cases, only professional ethics is required. As a coach, you really appreciate all the qualities of his influence on the game.”
The nurse added: “Every time we play against him, it’s fighting, fighting, fighting. We’re always attacking each other. So it’s funny, when we pick him up, he’s like, “Finally we don’t have to fight each other.” I was like’Yes, this is good.’
Heyman’s tenacious game, accompanied by fast and fearless puck recovery and absorbing punishment in front of the net, hit his body. In his last three seasons as Leaf, ankle and knee injuries cost him 40 of the 208 games (he missed the other three due to suspension or illness), which meant he missed Toronto about 20% Schedule. When he signed a seven-year, 36-year-old contract, it made sense to doubt whether he could realize the full value of the entire transaction. Players of his kind usually start to deteriorate in their early 30s.
But when they signed him, the Oilers might not worry about it. They understand that they need to make the playoffs in the next few seasons, and McDavid and Draisaitl reach the top like Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr have no teammates since.Few experts doubt whether Hyman can seriously help the Oilers short The term, he did exactly that to start 2021-22. In the first five games of the season, he led the first 40-goal season. He leads the NHL forward in personal high-risk shooting attempts at 5 vs. 5 every 60 minutes. That was before he and the Oilers fell severely in December and January.
Hyman, together with McDavid and Jesse Purjujervi, started playing so strongly on the dominant line. Does it help? Of course, but not all players can excel with outstanding talents. Heyman is also very effective at Matthews and Manner in Toronto, and is proud of being able to keep up with the superstars.
“I would love to compete with elite talents,” Hyman said. “I have seen in the past that when players are placed next to elite players, you try to change your way of playing and cross the ball or pass the ball too much to them. But play with Alston, or with Mickey. Playing football, playing with’JT’ or Willie, I have had the experience of playing with people who always want ice hockey, and Connor is no exception.”
However, portraying Hyman as a lucky passenger and constantly tripping over superstars is a kind of injury to Hyman. There is a reason why he can persevere. In Tippett’s view, there is more than one way to define skills.
“You can give highly skilled people a pair of hands that are good at grasping things. They seem to be able to shoot quickly in the air, but Hyman’s skills are actually a by-product of his professional ethics, because he uses his skill space in a small area. , He controls the hockey puck in a small space,” Tippet said. “He reminds me of a player I have played in Dallas for many years: Jerry Letinen. I was surprised to find that… there will be a hockey puck bounce around and four people will hit it. , Somehow Lehtinen always finally got hold of it and took it out of the pile, and that’s what Hyman did. He joined those scrums. It’s not pure’technique’, like you see a person from the ice It’s the same as flying down, but there is a technique that can (control) the hockey puck in a small area under pressure. This is where he is very good at it.”
So Hyman is exactly what the Oilers want him to be. Will his personal success translate into the greatest team success in his NHL career? He has not passed the first round, but until late November, the Oilers have been the front runners in the Pacific Division. McDavid and Dresettel were tracking the highest single-season data among all NHL players in this century. However, all the goodwill in recent weeks has disappeared, mainly because the Oilers desperately need the help of the goalkeeper in the case of Greybeard Mike Smith being injured and substitute Mikokoskinin struggling-this is a team to come. It is said to be a deadly combination, there are too many high-risk situations in the case of 5 pairs. 5. However, talent is wise, Edmonton should With the deadliest team in McDavid’s era, this is the best chance to enter the playoffs.
Given that Edmonton was also struggling in the first few rounds of the playoffs, Hyman saw a hunger similar to Toronto there. To some extent, he has the opportunity to get rid of those ancient demons while trying new things at the same time. The energy he did in this way seemed to spread rapidly in the oiler’s room, creating a more positive tone than the habits of McDavey’s time.
“Some people you bring into your organization, they just bring something that you can’t teach,” the nurse said. “This is work, come every day. It’s not even a problem: he trains in the same way, he exercises in the same way, and he will play the same way. It doesn’t matter what day he leaves the rink. It doesn’t matter what he is. It doesn’t matter whether he scores 20 goals or 2 goals. He brings the same professional ethics every day. He will be on the court for a long time and we are lucky to have him on the court.”
A version of this article originally appeared in The World Youth Championship preview issue of Hockey News.