Nathan MacKinnon sat next to Joe Sakic's old locker stall Wednesday morning worrying about leaning too far to the right. Barely a month past his 18th birthday MacKinnon didn't want to disturb the legacy of the Avalanche's former star and 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who is now the club's top executive. Hours away from making his NHL debut and hoping to prove that Sakic and first-year coach Patrick Roy also a former Avalanche legend made the right decision in selecting him with the No. 1 overall draft pick in June MacKinnon felt like he was "sitting" on egg shells. "It's pretty cool to sit beside his old stall" MacKinnon said of the stripped stall that formerly had Sakic's equipment in it behind glass. "But I may even put a little barrier here (pointing to the crack separation) so even my knee won't cross over there." That feeling will fade. MacKinnon officially joined Sakic's team in earnest Wednesday night in an NHL debut that matched the offseason and preseason hype of his arrival. He was without a doubt absolutely fabulous as the Avs rolled over the Anaheim Ducks 6-1 in the opener for both teams. MacKinnon (two assists) showed his speed and produced a shot on his first shift threw a couple punches at Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy in the second period before assisting on Jamie McGinn's goal that gave the Avs a 4-0 lead heading into the third. MacKinnon made an even more spectacular pass midway through the third period that directly led to McGinn's second goal and a 5-0 lead. "Unbelievable game and a lot of fun" MacKinnon said. "I don't mind that (physical) stuff at all it's part of hockey and it's all worth it. ... I was a little nervous at first fighting it a little bit early on. ... But I thought I was pretty solid."
First overall draft pick Nathan MacKinnon shines in NHL debut
Denver Post | Oct 3