Nathan MacKinnon, Like Crosby, Is From Cole Harbour, And The Comparisons Don’t End There

Junior Hockey News – The Concussion and Suspension Numbers – Nathan MacKinnon, like Crosby, is from Cole Harbour, and the comparisons don’t end there #top .wrapper .container h1 { color: #004080; }

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Nathan MacKinnon, like Crosby, is from Cole Harbour……

There’s no mistaking him when he steps on the ice. MacKinnon is hockey’s next young superstar – and all he does is turn heads.

Wednesday night’s one and only regular season visit to Gatineau by MacKinnon, who draws obvious comparisons to Sidney Crosby given the fact they share the same home town, had the box office appeal of a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff game at the Robert Guertin Arena.

MacKinnon also drew just about every NHL scout from Eastern Canada, some of them for their first in-person look at a legitimate candidate to hear his name called first overall in May 2013.

Now 50 games into his junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads, MacKinnon – as a rookie, already his team’s leading scorer – is no longer something of a secret outside of Atlantic Canada and Quebec. He’s taking his status as a sensation in stride.

On the ice, MacKinnon is everything the Mooseheads hoped for when they traded three first-round picks and two key players away to get his rights.

His 26 goals and 68 points ranked him 16th in league scoring going into play Wednesday night, and he also has that big-play aura about him. It was never more evident than when he scored five goals against the Quebec Remparts in the first game after he was not invited to Canada’s world junior team training camp.

Off the ice, MacKinnon is as down to earth as they come.

He’s attending Grade 11 with all his buddies at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth (Cole Harbour is essentially a Dartmouth neighbourhood). He brought his math and English textbooks on the road with him to Gatineau, saying "we’re going to be doing Othello soon – you know, Shakespeare."

Some people have taken to calling MacKinnon "the second coming of Crosby" or "Crosby Jr." – and the dots are easy enough to connect. They just don’t do service to what MacKinnon has and will become.

Yes, both hail from the same suburb and both wore out minor hockey statisticians in their formative years. Just like Crosby, MacKinnon positioned himself for the Quebec junior draft by attending prep school at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota, registering an eye-opening 85 points in 34 games. Both became the No. 1 overall pick of the QMJHL midget draft. They share Pat Brisson as an agent.

But the pair are markedly different. MacKinnon has an extra gear few players have ever had, Crosby included.

And, of course, there’s still a long way to go before NHL draft day at which Crosby was the star in 2005.

Although MacKinnon and Ottawa 67’s super-sophomore Sean Monahan have never met, they’re nonetheless beginning to learn quite a bit about each other as hockey prognosticators tout the pair as potential one-two picks at the 2013 NHL draft.

The race to be No. 1 will surely heat up at world juniors next year. Both MacKinnon and Monahan have to be considered locks to be invited to the summer camp, though it’s always billed a "19-year-old" tournament and neither will be there yet.

Trouble is, neither is likely to still be playing junior when 2013-14 rolls around.

And if MacKinnon needs any advice on the pressures of being No. 1, all he has to do is turn to Mooseheads majority owner Bob Smith, the 67’s legend who was taken No. 1 overall in the 1979 draft by the Minnesota North Stars.

 

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