Girl: As everyone knows, I am a lover, not a fighter. But I’ll drop the gloves with any ankle that tells me Avs center Nathan MacKinnon isn’t the best hockey player in the world. Anyone who’s seen Mack’s spectacular goal after an end-to-end onslaught against Las Vegas knows he’s the undisputed number one. Oh wait. This amazing bit happened after midnight on the east coast due to the sun’s lag on Lake Tahoe. My question: after an injured period due to an injury, is it too late for MacKinnon to get back on the MVP talk and win the Hart Trophy in this condensed NHL season?
Chambers: COVID likely put MacKinnon back in the MVP race. After suffering that mysterious injury in Minnesota on January 31, when he looked fine on his last shift of the second period but didn’t come out on the third, MacKinnon was classified as “week after week” with a lower body injury. But just one game later, the Avalanche was closed due to the COVID protocol, allowing MacKinnon to get well even while the team was away. He was lucky enough to just miss one game.
Girl: In a world of look-at-me athletes, MacKinnon would rather get stuck by a peaceful lake, away from the crowd. He is the definition of no fuss. But in a sport that is often ignored in much of the U.S. unless an outdoor game makes the headlines (for better or for worse), I wish the NHL could find a way to raise the profile of their stars . There should be more appreciation for MacK in this country, don’t you think? While MacKinnon doesn’t seek attention, I suspect the competitor in him is itching to be recognized as an MVP.
Chambers: He’s now two times runner-up in the Hart Trophy so there has to be a deep hunger to finally win this thing. For those from the East who didn’t get up after midnight to see MacKinnon’s highlight goal and two assists in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Vegas, you might see the clip about Alex Pietrangelo, the Knights defender with microphone ” Oh boy, “when MacKinnon ran up through the neutral zone before firing that shot to put Colorado 2-1 ahead. From the bench after the goal, Pietrangelo said to a team-mate: “There is not much we can do there.” This is one of the leading D-men in the NHL who talks about an often unjustifiable player.
Girl: In a city blessed by the talent of Nikola Jokic, Von Viller and, until recently, Nolan Arenado, MacKinnon is undoubtedly the front runner among current Denver athletes for me. While he’ll be creating more magic this regular season, there are just too many well-known NHL players too far ahead of MacKinnon to be honored as an MVP in 2021. But here’s my guess: After raising the Stanley Cup to MacK, celebrating a glorious playoff run and would prefer to win the Conn Smythe as the Hart.
Chambers: In any case, the cup is the hardware MacKinnon wants most. But when all is said and done, MacKinnon will likely still be a Hart Trophy finalist if he stays healthy. While Nate is in 18th place in the NHL ranking (13 games), he is 10th in the number of points per game (1.38). The Avs have played six fewer games than Edmonton due to COVID, where NHL top scorer Connor McDavid (37 points) and Oilers star Leon Draisaitl (30), as well as five fewer games than Toronto, where the league’s other top scorers are Mitch Marner (30) and Auston Matthews (29). MacKinnon is more than able to catch these players for the Canadian teams if he can stay healthy.