Nathan MacKinnon Faster Than Light


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Ok, wonder-kid Nathan MacKinnon may not actually be faster than the speed of light. He is, however, faster than Olympic gold medal speed skater Charles Hamelin.

Renowned hockey equipment brand CCM devised the Tacks Challenge to showcase their Tacks skates, which promise to “help generate maximum acceleration in the first strides.” You know what else generates maximum acceleration in skating? Nathan MacKinnon’s bottom half apparently — his increased explosiveness in skating has been much ballyhooed for the new season.

The Tacks Challenge consisted of MacKinnon racing against Hamelin on a short track equivalent to roughly five strides. MacKinnon is wearing the Tack skates — and 50 pounds of hockey equipment. In fact, a memorable moment in the video is MacKinnon pouting a bit about having to race in all that equipment, while Hamelin shimmies into a skintight suit. Indeed, during the race itself, MacKinnon is even carrying his stick.

It may seem as if the results of the race were a foregone conclusion — there would be no buzz if Hamelin beat out MacKinnon. However, watching the race is a treat just for the joy of watching that explosiveness of MacKinnon’s skating in action:

It’s also very interesting to see the difference in technique to gain the same basic result — skating fast. For the most part, Hamelin stays more upright, while MacKinnon hunches his shoulders, perhaps to make himself more aerodynamic. Indeed, the stick itself seems to work like the nose of a missile — MacKinnon actually likens it to a samurai sword. Apparently it was zinging while he skated.

Granted, this was all a stunt. Nonetheless, no one can doubt MacKinnon’s speed — just watch him during a game. Once he puts the jets on, he squirts past whomever is between him and the offensive zone.

On a side note, it sounds as if he may be starting on wing again, this time with Ryan O’Reilly as his center and captain Gabriel Landeskog on the other wing. Head coach Patrick Roy, in his ever-experimenting ways, put that line together during the third period of Frozen Fury. He also ran that line during practice. Star center Matt Duchene has been paired up with the veterans, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla, who skated together in Calgary.

With Roy, though, you never know, and the top-six could shift a lot during the opening game against the Minnesota Wild. With MacKinnon, though, you do know — he’ll be the fastest skater out there.