The NHL’s next big thing is dealing with a hand injury that will sideline him for at least a month.
Junior hockey star Connor McDavid fractured a bone in his right hand while playing for the Erie Otters on Tuesday night and will miss 5-6 weeks.
McDavid, likely the top pick in next year’s NHL Draft, hurt the hand while taking a swing at Bryson Cianfrone of the Mississauga Steelheads. The 17-year-old leads the Ontario Hockey League with 16 goals and 35 assists in 18 games.
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Otters owner Sherry Bassen told The Associated Press that McDavid had full range of motion in the hand immediately after the fight.
The timing of the injury leaves McDavid’s availability for the world junior championships next month uncertain. McDavid was considered a lock to make the Team Canada roster.
McDavid has long been a target in games as opponents try to knock the talented forward off his game. The Otters entered Wednesday with the Ontario Hockey League’s best record at 16-1-0-1 thanks in large part to McDavid’s dynamic playmaking.
Erie was already up 4-0 late in the second period when Cianfrone and McDavid clashed several times behind the Mississauga goal. McDavid skated toward Cianfrone after a stoppage in play and the two exchanged punches, with McDavid apparently injuring his hand when a wayward haymaker missed Cianfrone and instead struck the red top of the dasher boards.
McDavid earned a 5-minute fighting major and a game misconduct. McDavid now has 26 penalty minutes on the season, tied for the team high and an unusual number for a player likened to the next Sidney Crosby.
”I don’t think this is a guy that goes out and does it all the time,” Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ”Those things are going to happen, unfortunately. For a guy like him, he’s trying to show that he’ll do whatever it takes to be a help to his hockey club.”