Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in the draft this past June, had a notable debut – as did his coach, Patrick Roy.
The first time MacKinnon will be mentioned on an NHL scoresheet in his career is in the penalty column for a tussle he engaged in with Nick Palmieri and got two minutes for. That toughness episode was his rite of passage into the big leagues.
A little later he recorded his first point, an assist on a Jamie McGinn goal. This kind of magic is what he’s really in the NHL for. And, uh, wow.
Wait, there’s more! In the last half of the third period, the deadly MacKinnon-McGinn combo connected again and helped make Patrick Roy’s first game behind the bench a (relatively) easy one.
The last first overall pick to step right into the NHL and win the Calder Trophy was Patrick Kane in 2007-08, but MacKinnon is certainly off running in his quest.
Colorado thoroughly dominated the Ducks, winning the game 6-1. Anaheim spoiled Semyon Varlamov’s shutout with 6.4 seconds left in the game – and that’s when things got interesting.
Roy elected to throw Patrick Bordeleau and Cody McLeod on the ice after he perceived MacKinnon as a victim of a cheap shot. Predictable scrums ensued. Roy then exchanged words with Corey Perry and Bruce Boudreau and nearly toppled the pane of glass separating the benches that should probably be stronger than this. (Heads up camera guy!)
Of course, this comes a week after Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined for “team conduct and player selection,” so you have to wonder if the NHL will have a word to say. But the rule is arbitrary in the first place, so whether they act or not is anyone’s guess.
Anyway, it was great entertainment – welcome back, St. Patrick.