The Edmonton Oilers head coach didn't want to address the overall disparity in penalty calls after his team's 4-2 loss. But he did express displeasure with the way his superstar - in his view - was restricted without repercussions.
"I'm not going to comment on the penalties, but the stuff that really bothers me is what's happening to Connor," Hitchcock told reporters postgame. "We're a league that's supposed to showcase our top players - and you don't want to give them all the freedom - but the tug-of-war on him was absolutely ridiculous (Sunday) and that's a little bit discouraging, to be honest with you.
"I can see the whack-and-hacking going on when he's got the puck, but to me, it's all the stuff behind (the play) that doesn't allow him to showcase his speed, and if that's what we want, well, that's fine, but I think it's a real disservice to a player like him."
McDavid logged more than 23 minutes of ice time in the game but managed only one shot on goal. He tallied a lone assist on Alex Chiasson's third-period marker.
"He's not allowed to play give-and-go, it's give-and-hold, so we're going to have to figure out a way to fight through it, or we'll just play toughness with them and figure it out from there," Hitchcock said.