"You're asking a lot from guys to sit through something like that and remember your teammate and see what they're going through, the whole family, and expect to perform that night," McDavid said postgame, per The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman. "I'm not sure what the league was really thinking there."
Cave, a former Oiler and Boston Bruin, died at 25 last April after suffering a brain bleed. The celebration of life in Edmonton had been planned for weeks, while the NHL only finalized Saturday's clash Monday due to North Division schedule changes in response to the Vancouver Canucks' COVID-19 outbreak.
"Some days are a little more than just about hockey," McDavid said. "Obviously, the performance wasn't there tonight, but today is about Colby and his memorial and his celebration of life.
"You'd like the NHL to maybe think that one through a little bit."
Many of the Oilers gathered at their hotel in Calgary to watch the ceremony remotely.
The Flames won the contest 5-0.