SIMMONS SAYS: Connor McDavid’s playoffs point total is one for the record books … Blue Jays are a mess

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Connor McDavid has 20 points more than anyone on the Florida Panthers — and nothing like that has ever been done in the history of the National Hockey League.

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That’s the way it’s going right now with McDavid. He’s leaping tall buildings with a single bound. He’s doing what we never believed was possible.

He’s outpacing Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs and all that scoring excess came 30 and 40 years ago. So we rub our eyes now with disbelief as the Oilers bounce back from down three games in the final and as McDavid, in ways we’ve never seen before, continues to dazzle and amaze.

McDavid has 20 points more than Matthew Tkachuk, the leading scorer on the Panthers. When Gretzky broke his own scoring record with 47 points in 1985, he led opponent Denis Savard of the Blackhawks by 18 points. When he scored 43 points in 1988, Gretzky was ahead of Philadelphia’s Ken Linseman (25). When he scored 40 points in 1993 in Los Angeles, he was 17 ahead of Stanley Cup winner Vincent Damphousse.

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Gretzky was supposed to be uncatchable.

When Lemieux led the playoffs in scoring in 1991 and 1992, he had 15 more points than Brian Bellows had with Minnesota and 12 more than Jeremy Roenick had with the Blackhawks.

Lemieux was supposed to be uncatchable.

And in 1976, when Reggie Leach became the only non-goaltender to win the Conn Smythe Trophy while playing for a team which didn’t win the Stanley Cup, he did so with 19 goals and seven assists. That’s 26 points.

The 42 points McDavid has accumulated this playoff season is better than four of Gretzky’s six point-leading seasons. Should he end up at 44, which isn’t in any way impossible, he would tie Lemieux for second all-time in playoff scoring.

All of which is possible and impossible to believe all at the very same time.

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THIS AND THAT

No matter who wins Monday night, the Conn Smythe goes to McDavid. It has to. There is no second choice anymore … This is Alexander Mogilny’s 15th shot at the Hockey Hall of Fame and Pavel Datsyuk’s first time eligible. Which makes Monday’s voting more curious than usual. Both are Russian players. Both are deserving of induction. The wonder has been, in recent years, if the conflict in Ukraine has influenced the Russian view of Hall voters? Has that kept Mogilny out and will that keep Datsyuk out? The class of 2024 will be announced on Tuesday … My class of 2024, if I was making the call, would have Mogilny, Datsyuk, goaltender Curtis Joseph and defenceman Shea Weber. Others who I favour and may not get there: Henrik Zetterberg, Patrik Elias, Jeremy Roenick and the long forgotten Rick Middleton … The idea of video replay in the NHL has been lost in circumstance. The NHL went to replay originally so that obvious offside situations would be set aside. It wasn’t put in to micromanage the game and use minuscule measurements and slide rulers to determine what is or isn’t offside … There have been 17 Game 7s in the Stanley Cup final in NHL history. The home team has won 12 of them. In the last 10, the home team has seven of those clinching wins … My favourite seven-game Cup series — N.Y. Rangers vs. Vancouver in 1994 and Pittsburgh vs. Detroit in 2009 … The game of broken telephone surrounds the reporting on the future of Mitch Marner with the Maple Leafs. Most of what’s being reported is either nonsense, guessing or stuff being spoon-fed by agents to their reporters of choice. What’s become rather crazy in these days of online aggregate junk is that something possibly inaccurate gets reported and then all the known and unknown voices react to it. With emotional commentary flying in all directions. All this doesn’t bother the Leaf GM Brad Treliving, but he does admit his family reports most of what he doesn’t see back to him and it bothers them more than it bothers him … I covered a best of seven series in 2010, not a final, in which Boston won the first three games, Philadelphia won the next three and Boston led 3-0 in Game 7, only to lose 4-3 in overtime. You don’t see those kind of series often … Every city in Canada should have a Gene Principe on television. He just makes life more fun … The NHL should have a rule: No trades announced during the Stanley Cup. No signings. No firings. No hirings. You can make those announcements before or after. It works for other sports … This is something the NHL has to fix: In the first 20 days of June, only six playoff games were played … And now we know the Canadian Olympic team goaltender: His name, Stuart Skinner … Sam Reinhart outscored Zach Hyman 57-54 this season. In the playoffs, though, it’s Hyman with 16, Reinhart with nine and none of them in the final. Hyman will be on McDavid’s Olympic line. Reinhart, to me, is a long shot to make the team … Reinhart has one goal and just three points in six games of the final. And he’s going to get a ton of money, probably from Florida, in free agency.

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HEAR AND THERE

Earth to Ed Rogers, come in Ed. Your Blue Jays are in trouble. Fans have never been more disgusted by the product. It’s time for the pseudo-owner of the club — that’s you — to say something or do something or just be heard from … The Jays are doing a good enough job of hiding in the standings. They don’t need their owner in witness protection as well … Of all the Jays stats, this is the worst one. They are 29th in baseball in hitting home runs. And they rank 2nd (the equivalent of 29th) in home runs given up. There are only 30 teams in baseball … Manager John Schneider believes in George Springer because the numbers we don’t get to see tell him that Springer is just an at-bat or three away from being back to his usual self. So to recap, Springer is on pace for his worst home run hitting season of his career, worst RBI season, worst batting average, worst on-base percentage, worst OPS, worst WAR, worst slugging numbers. He turns 35 in September … In 2008, the Blue Jays released future Hall of Fame Frank Thomas, age 40 at the time, and he was hitting .246 to Springer’s .194, eight home runs to Springer’s five; 30 RBI to Springer’s 15; A .723 OPS to Springer’s .570. That was a release to save money. Not sure how you save money on Springer now with $50 million owing after this season … One of the reasons GM Ross Atkins didn’t want to keep Teoscar Hernandez was he didn’t believe he was worth $20 million a year. The Dodgers signed Teoscar this year for $23.5 million. Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero for $19 million. Hernandez has 18 homers, 54 RBI and an OPS of .824. Guerrero has eight home runs and 31 RBI and an OPS of .773.

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SCENE AND HEARD

I met this skinny teenager at a golf tournament years ago. He didn’t have a muscle on his body. He told me his goal was to play in the NHL. Inside, I laughed a little, figuring there’s no chance this kid will ever play. The kid is now in his eighth big league season and making a significant difference in his first Stanley Cup final. The kid’s name: Connor Brown … In the three games Florida won in the Stanley Cup final, middle of the roster players like Anton Lundell, Evan Rodrigues, Niko Mikkola were impressive for the Panthers. In the last three games, all wins by Edmonton, Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark and Brown have been the Oilers difference makers aside from the obvious stars … The number that distinguishes Andrew Cogliano’s rather remarkable NHL career is 27. That’s the number of games he missed in his 17-year career. I used to think Mats Sundin was the rock of all rocks with the Leafs. He missed 50 games in his 18-year career — 27 is a rather impossible figure … For many years, anyone who cared about Canadian basketball has been frustrated, wanting to see the best Canadians play on an Olympic team. Well, the opportunity is now. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on a court with Jamal Murray and Andrew Wiggins and Dillon Brooks. Win or lose, this will be the team story from the Paris Olympics. I’m just sorry that Cory Joseph, who gave years to the national team when others were saying no, didn’t get an invitation to the training camp that begins on Friday … Word around is that Pascal Siakam is staying with the Indiana Pacers … Oshae Brissett, who will get a championship ring from the Boston Celtics, is the third Canadian in three years to win an NBA title. That makes 10 players overall who have won championships. Last year, Murray won in Denver and the year before Wiggins won with Golden State … Steve Nash never won a championship but took home two MVP awards … The world has gone insane: ESPN is offering Stephen A. Smith more than $18 million a year on a long-term contract and he apparently wants more. McDavid will get paid $10 million next season by the Oilers (a $12.5 million salary cap hit) as the best player in his sport. Explain that one to your kids … Sheldon Keefe had to leave Toronto to get the goaltender he truly needed when he coached the Leafs. Jacob Markstrom should make a huge difference in goal for New Jersey this coming season. Not sure what to make of this, but Keefe did not take any of his Leafs assistant coach’s with him to the Devils … With Markstrom now in Jersey, the Leafs have no better than the seventh-best goaltending in the Eastern Conference … If you never saw Willie Mays, take some time, watch the highlights online. Watch the elegance and the grace. You will be amazed. There was no one like him then, there is no one like him now … Once upon a time, Mays was in centre field for the New York Giants and Mickey Mantle was in centre for the Yankees. And you wonder why New York loves baseball like almost nowhere else? … I asked a number of baseball people who the closest player to Mays is today. The answer was mostly blank stares. One coach mentioned Ronald Acuna Jr., who is out for the season with the Atlanta Braves. Shohei Ohtani is considered the best player in baseball and most days he doesn’t play the field.

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AND ANOTHER THING

Listening to Reggie Jackson talk about racism in the 1960s when he was starting out in the minor leagues was shocking and sad and important for many. But I had heard almost the same words before. Cito Gaston is two years older than Reggie. He lived through similar experiences in the 1960s in places like Shreveport and Austin and Greenville, S.C., and even in his home town of San Antonio. At times, he talked about those days. Those memories, he said, will haunt you for a lifetime … It must kill the Philadelphia 76ers to watch Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum win an NBA title in Boston. Philly passed on Brown to draft Ben Simmons in 2016 and one year later, moved up in the draft, passed on Tatum and selected Markelle Fultz. The Sixers haven’t won an NBA title in 41 years … Caitlin Clark was passed over by the U.S. Olympic team for reasons that make zero sense. So why not take advantage and put her on the U.S. 3-on-3 Olympic team? That sport needs a lift and who better to lift it than the woman breathing air and dollars and three-pointers into the WNBA … A quick Clark stat: The six most watched WNBA games on television this season have featured the Indiana Fever, the eighth-best team in a 12-team league. The reason: Clark plays for the Fever … The Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes haven’t missed a beat this season. They look like the best team in the CFL and they only looked like that on two days last season … Greats born this day: Bill Torrey, Don Matthews and Pete Maravich … And a happy birthday to Felix Potvin (53), Steve Armitage (80), Danny Green (37), Josh Naylor (27), Tyler O’Neill (29), O.J. Atogwe (43), Kurt Warner (53), LaDainian Tomlinson (45), Clyde Drexler (62), Acie Earl (54), Dustin Johnson (40), Vasek Pospisil (34) and Koko B. Ware (66) … And hey, whatever became of Lee Fogolin?

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