Connor McDavid at center, Johnny Gaudreau at left wing and Jack Eichel at right wing. It’s a line that could break the internet, explode the Twittersphere, and give nightmares to goalies at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The line, likely one of the fastest line combinations in the tournament, practiced together and will take the ice Sunday when Team North America plays Team Europe in a pretournament game at Bell Centre in Montreal (6 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports).
For the first three days of camp, Team North America coach Todd McLellan had McDavid on a line with Jonathan Drouin and Mark Scheifele. Eichel had been skating with Gaudreau and Brandon Saad. That experiment is over.
With the new line, McLellan says, “I think we’ve got a couple real good quick skaters there, a playmaker. The ability to win faceoffs, left and right-handed side. We should have the puck and have possession.” He added, “I thought Jack shot the puck a lot [Thursday, in a 4-0 defeat of Team Europe], which was a positive sign. Connor used his speed well; he almost turned the corner on a number of defensemen and took it to the net. Johnny had the puck a lot and made some good plays. The three of them, we should be able to create a good combination.”
“I haven’t played wing in a while but I’m excited about it. It’s a little something different. People say we’re the future of the league. Who better than to play with than those two?” – Jack Eichel
“This is probably what everyone wants,” McDavid said. “Hopefully we can jell together. We certainly understand what everyone else would see and think about that. For us, it doesn’t really matter. We’re just trying to see who everyone can play with, who everyone can find chemistry with. If it’s with Jack and Johnny, then, well, perfect. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited about it. I think it could be special,” he added.
The World Cup officially starts at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sept. 17.