October 03, 2013
Those in Nova Scotia who rolled into work Thursday a bit bleary-eyed after staying up to watch Nathan MacKinnon's debut will be cut some slack. The 18-year-old centre's NHL debut was worth it.
The Halifax Mooseheads graduate will have some difficulties as a rookie in the NHL, of course. The hockey world, though, saw what the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League knew it had over the past couple years. MacKinnon, one month past his 18th birthday, notched two assists, showing himself to be the compleat playmaker by twice setting up Jamie McGinn, a former Ottawa 67.
His competitiveness also grated on the Anaheim Ducks during their 5-0 defeat, which might explain why he was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee collision with defenceman Ben Lovejoy, which led to rookie Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy getting a game misconduct for an outburst reminiscent of his best bits with the Q's Quebec Remparts.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., native initiated a second-period skirmish with Lovejoy, taking a penalty. It hardly proved to be a rookie mistake.
Later in the period, MacKinnon won a race for a puck behind the Anaheim net and threaded a pass through the feet of veteran Saku Koivu, who began playing in the NHL one month after MacKinnon was born in September 1995. McGinn rapped it in to get the rookie on the scoresheet.
In the third period, MacKinnon took a puck to the net and feathered it to McGinn for the 5-0 goal.
With that, the night became officially historic.
From the Elias Sports Bureau, via TSN Radio's Shawn Lavigne ( @tsnlaidback):
MacKinnon, who was only 18 years, 31 days old when he took the ice on Wednesday night, became the youngest NHL player to record two or more points in a game since January 8, 1944, when Ted "Teeder" Kennedy scored four points (one goal, three assists) for the Maple Leafs in a 12-3 win over the Bruins in Toronto at age 18 years, 27 days.
Kennedy was a Hall of Famer who led the Toronto Maple Leafs to five Stanley Cups in the 1940s and early '50s, so you know the last time this happened was way, way back.
Would that it had been the talker for the night. In the final minute, though, MacKinnon collided with Lovejoy, his dance partner from earlier in the evening.
No penalty was called on Lovejoy, which led to Roy getting into with Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau. That is likely going to be upstage anything that happened on the ice.
Now you can see why neither of these personalities will be easy for the Q to replace.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (videos: Prime Ticket).