For 22 years, former Buffalo Sabres winger Jason Dawe had no idea he owned one of junior hockey’s most prestigious records. Then his phone rang last week. A Canadian reporter left a message informing Dawe that mega-prospect Connor McDavid was approaching his Ontario Hockey League playoff mark of 51 points.
Dawe, now a hockey instructor in Charlotte, looked at his phone and thought, “What?”
“You think over the course of 22 years somebody would’ve picked up the phone and told me, right?” Dawe said Monday.
Seriously, Dawe, who compiled a stunning 18 goals and 33 assists in only 21 games during the Peterborough Petes’ run to the 1993 OHL championship, swears he never knew he had set any record.
“I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true,” Dawe said. “I didn’t have any idea.”
Naturally, Dawe would like to keep the record he shares with Justin Papineau, who tied it in 21 games in 1999. Still, Dawe’s fine with McDavid breaking it.
“I hope he breaks it,” Dawe said. “If anybody’s going to break it, I hope he does. He’s having a great playoffs.”
But McDavid might fall short. The 18-year-old center has 45 points in 18 games – 20 goals and 25 assists. His production has slowed during the Erie Otters’ OHL final series.
The Oshawa Generals held McDavid to just one point while winning the first two games. In Game 2, he was held pointless for the first time in the playoffs and just the third time all season. McDavid rebounded with one goal and two points in the Otters’ 4-3 home win Monday. Game 4 is tonight in Erie.
Dawe still thinks McDavid will surpass him. The phenom has five outings of four or more points this postseason.
“He can go off on any given day, right?” said Dawe, who might reach out to McDavid if the record falls. “So I’m not really too confident I’ll still keep it.”
Dawe produced throughout 1992-93, his last junior season, scoring a whopping 58 goals and 126 points in 59 regular-season contests. Counting his playoff run, he compiled 76 goals and 177 points in only 80 appearances.
The Petes, a powerhouse that featured future NHL star Chris Pronger, eventually lost in the Memorial Cup to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, a team coached by Ted Nolan, Dawe’s coach during his best days in Buffalo.
But Dawe has no memories of his personal exploits – a big game or a series he went wild – that postseason.
“I didn’t really focus on that, to be honest with you,” he said. “You were glad you were putting up the points and stuff, but at the end of the day, you were more focused on just getting to … the Memorial Cup and capturing the big prize. I wish I could say, ‘Yeah, I had 18 points this one series.’ I honestly don’t remember any of that.”