Nathan MacKinnon: Victim of Sophomore Prank?


The Colorado Avalanche’s first-overall draft pick from 2013, Nathan MacKinnon, is from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-overall draft pick from 2005, Sidney Crosby, is also from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. These facts tend to link these two players.

Last season, that linkage came at the expense of then-sophomore Nathan MacKinnon’s street cred.

Extra! Extra! Crosby Snubs MacKinnon!

Every move Penguins star Sidney Crosby makes gets captured and analyzed. When Crosby showed up to a post-practice presser with half his face swollen, everyone immediately speculated the had the mumps, which were going around the NHL. (He did.) According to Puck Daddy, the sign leading into Cole Harbour identifies it as “Home of Sidney Crosby.”

So, maybe it’s not so odd that last season, during the March 5, game the Penguins played in Colorado, reporters noticed that Crosby didn’t respond when MacKinnon said, “Hey.”

*Cue drumroll…. Oh, wait, that’s it. MacKinnon said “Hey,” and Crosby gave him his game face. This act — or non-act — not only got memorialized in the above Puck Daddy post but also in the Denver Post (amongst numerous others, including 120 Sports).

Now, I’m willing to bet such things happen all the time on the ice. Why, I bet former teammates Cody McLeod and Chris Stewart exchanged some unpleasantries before dropping the gloves. Most likely Paul Stastny’s former teammates had something to say to him when he returned to Colorado ice for the first time after fleeing in free agency. He may have snubbed them for all we know.

That’s just it — we don’t know. But we do know about the above because teenaged Nathan MacKinnon was forced to recount it:

"“I just said, ‘Hey,’ and he looked at me and ignored me. He’s pretty serious, but that’s OK. I don’t know if he’s mad at me or what. I’ll have to see.”"

I mention the teen part because doesn’t that sound like such a teen thing “I don’t know if he’s mad at me”?

Now, no question MacKinnon respects Crosby as the great player he is. At the time he said, “Sid was my favorite player growing up, and we’re buddies, and it’s always fun to play against him.” When the two teamed up at IIHF Worlds, MacKinnon elaborated:

"“I idolized him. I wanted his picture and autograph and all his stuff and that sort of thing. He wasn’t just a good role model for me and every other kid in Cole Harbour, I think he’s been one for every kid across Canada.”"

However, he’s hardly the star-struck kid 120 Sports painted him out to be when the commenters remarked that “Maybe someone could set up a meet and greet for MacKinnon with Crosby.”

Not necessary — the two Cole Harbour natives are friends.

Crosby and MacKinnon, Buddies

I don’t know that Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby hang out together… oh, actually I do because I follow MacKinnon on Instagram. (I don’t follow Crosby on social media, so I don’t know what he posts.) Turns out that, in addition to growing up around each other and playing in international competitions together, the two do just hang:

Come to find out, the two also train in the off-season together.

Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy even remarked on that. Avalanche center Matt Duchene, who has the same agent as the two, often joins in. The three even participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge together last summer. True story — watch:

Sidney Crosby’s Ice Bucket Challenge:

Nathan MacKinnon’s Ice Bucket Challenge:

Matt Duchene’s Ice Bucket Challenge:

Then there’s the little matter of Crosby’s seeming brotherly concern for the young MacKinnon. Reportedly when Crosby’s former teammate Max Talbot got traded to the Colorado Avalanche during MacKinnon’s rookie season, Crosby called him up and asked him to watch out for young Nate. (MacKinnon went on to live with Talbot the following season.)

All of this comes about not because it’s a slow news month for hockey (I’ve had this post in mind since the Avs-Penguins game), but because now it appears that MacKinnon and Crosby are participating in hi-jinks together:

Actually, apparently they’re making a commercial together for the Canadian donut chain, Tim Horton’s.

So, poor Nathan MacKinnon appears to have been the victim of a prank when the media turned his buddy into his bully, a guy whose game face could sadden the teen center. Justice is ultimately MacK’s, though, because he scored a goal in that March game while Crosby remained pointless.

The hope is that, when the Pittsburgh Penguins again come to the Pepsi Center, on December 9, Nathan MacKinnon again tells Sidney Crosby, “Hey.” If Crosby snubs him again, I hope MacKinnon persists with something along the lines of, “Hey, Sid. Hey, bro. Sid, hey, Sid. Hi. I said hi.” like any pain in the butt little brother would. Because MacK has his own game face.

Next: MacKinnon: Center or Wing?

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