ice hockey | NHL: Leon Drisette – Better Than Best Gretzky

ice hockey |  NHL: Leon Drisette - Better Than Best Gretzky

Status: 11.11.2021 10:48 AM.

It’s going well with the Edmonton Oilers. The Canadian team got off to a better start than ever in the NHL, the North American professional ice hockey league. It’s due to Leon Dracitel, Captain Conor McDavid, some newcomers—and a little bit of a song.

by Heiko Oldbod (Boston)

Edmonton Oilers players have a new favorite song this season. After each victory, Los Lobos’s “La Bamba” can be heard through the cabin. Although most of today’s Oilers were not born professionally yet when the song hit the charts in 1987, Leon Driestel & Co. have always been enthusiastic about singing – and they are often allowed to sing at this time.

However, there is also a sad story behind this happy song. It was a favorite song of Joy Moss, who came to the Oilers in the eighties through club legend Wayne Gretzky and their cabin attendant for more than 30 years. Moss was born with Down syndrome and passed away in October 2020 at the age of 57. “He was a great man, meant a lot to all of us. And he often did a dance in between the songs,” Draistal said in an interview with The Sports Show.

“So far so well played”

“La Bamba” is now being played in Moss’s honor. And it is played a lot. Because Oilers regularly win. With nine wins in the first ten matches, they set a new club record. Their record was even better than the championship teams led by Gretzky in the eighties. Such comparisons are often used as a benchmark in Edmonton when things are going particularly well.

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“We’ve played really well so far, finding different ways to win the game,” explains Drisette. Of course, he adds immediately, you have to keep looking to get even better and keep accumulating points. He’s already done the latter – more abundantly than in his previous seven seasons.

Dracitel and McDavid top scorers – again

There are 23 points (ten goals, 13 assists) after eleven games. That means the 26-year-old and his teammate Conor McDavid lead the league’s scorers rankings. again. Because Cologne and the Canadian have already been the highest-scoring professionals in the past two seasons. McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer in 2020/21, with 105 points ahead of Driesett (84). A season ago, the order was: Draistal (110), followed by McDavid (97).

And now the pair have already reached 46 points after eleven matches together. “Can anyone live with Conor McDavid and Leon Draisaille?” asked “Sports Illustrated” during the week. When the two of them are on the ice together, it doesn’t take much words. Sometimes even a quick eye contact is enough so that one knows what the other is about to do. “We have played and trained so much together over the years that we don’t need to talk much. It’s all automated,” Dracitel explains.

It’s impossible to get two points in every game

Conor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers

Build: USA Today Sports

When looking at their stats, they have to laugh a bit and realize that “so far has gone relatively well”. Dressital credits the good record to newcomers such as Zach Hyman, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan, as well as 38-year-old defender Duncan Keith, who won the Stanley Cup three times with Chicago. “Really great people, great people,” Drisettel says. Each newcomer found his role “very, very quickly”. That’s exactly what was needed.

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And that’s exactly why it got off to a good start, which helped them. He has confidence when he steps on the ice, says Draisital. But then you can guess from the tone of his voice that a ban is about to come. One “but” that puts everything into perspective: “I’ve been in the league long enough to know that there will be games where things just won’t go well. And that’s just part of it. The league is great. Get two points in the game.”

missed a game in four years

But of course you have to stand on the ice to score goals or prepare them. And that has made Draitsel as credible as the very few players in the league for more than four years. He has not missed a game since October 24, 2017 and has played in all 295 games. He would have been given a break at the end of the points round, if he wanted to, to gather strength before the playoffs. But Draistal was always there. Never got hurt. never sick Never overloaded. “I just love playing ice hockey,” he says with a smile.

At the moment there is still something that makes him happy – the prospect of the Winter Olympics. Driesett was the first ice hockey player to be named “Player of the Year” in his country. He has represented Germany at the World Championships five times and was also there in the summer of 2016 when an Olympic ticket for Pyeongchang was booked at a qualifying tournament in Latvia.

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Olympic dream will finally come true

But since the NHL did not allow its pros to attend the Winter Games in 2018, Germany’s best ice hockey player had to wait another four years for its Olympic premiere. “I’m really looking forward to it. To experience that once in a while is something very special to me,” insists Dricetal. Germany will play against Canada at the start of the tournament. Draisitl meets his friend and Oilers captain Connor McDavid. They say that there was never a taunt, but he will come, there is no question about that.

At present, the focus of both the stars is on everyday life in the league. There are 40 games still to be played until the Olympic break in early February. Oilers want to bring with them a good start to the season in late autumn and winter. And after the games they want to hear “La Bamba” as often as possible.


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