Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon at IIHF Worlds


Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is making his first appearance at the IIHF World Championship, though he played in last year’s World Junior Championship and has represented Canada two other times in the Under-17 Championships. With three games — and a goal and two assists — under his belt, it’s safe to say Nathan MacKinnon is doing well at this year’s Worlds.

Nathan MacKinnon Line

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MacKinnon is currently playing on a line with Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza and Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby.

MacKinnon showed special chemistry with Spezza in the first game, assisting on two of his goals while having Spezza assist on his own goal.

MacKinnon and Crosby are from the same smallish town in Canada — Halifax, Nova Scotia. Needless to say, Crosby is the big fish in those waters, and MacKinnon told the Edmonton Sun about growing up in Crosby’s shadow. He talked about a display case dedicated to Sid the Kid which he had to pass every time he went to the rink in Halifax:

"“I used to stop and stare in there almost every day and look at all Sid’s stuff and dream.”"

Now since then, MacKinnon and Crosby have become pretty good friends, even training together in the off season. (Along with other Avalanche center Matt Duchene.) In fact, it’s rumored Crosby called up his old teammate, Max Talbot, and asked him to look after MacKinnon when Talbot was traded to Colorado.

MacKinnon remarked that now the two of them are friends, though he still looks up to Crosby:

"“I was such a huge fan. I idolized him. I wanted his picture and autograph and all his stuff and that sort of thing. We’re actually now pretty close. We talk a lot. But he’s still my role model from the same hometown.”"

Kiddo MacK can have worse role models than Sid the Kid, that’s for sure.

MacKinnon spoke after Canada’s close call with Sweden:

MacKinnon and the Avs

Three other Avalanche players are representing Canada at Worlds — Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie and Ryan O’Reilly. All four Avs are doing well. Barrie has two assists, O’Reilly three assists and Duchene an impressive two goals and four assists.

None of the Avalanche players are on lines together, though Barrie is sometimes out on the ice with his teammates. However, they are supporting each other nonetheless.

Barrie said of the situation:

"“We have a good, young team here (in Colorado), and we’re all pretty tight so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”"

Duchene has the most experience with international play of the four, having appeared in numerous international tournaments, including last year’s Olympic Games that saw Team Canada take gold. That may explain his composure on the world stage.

MacKinnon was always looking forward to the experience:

"“It’s always good to share experiences together. Throughout the season we see a lot of each other. Now at Worlds, it’s always good to get as much experience as you can overseas and internationally. I think it’s going to help our game over here too.”"

Team Canada faces one of its toughest opponents in Team Sweden today at 12:15 pm MDT.  Thus far the Swedes, like the Canadians, are undefeated. Obviously that changes for one of the teams after this afternoon.

Next: Can Avs Players Capitalize on IIHF Worlds Success?

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