Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/2/13
His new nickname with the Avalanche is "Razor" but it still doesn't appear Nathan Mac Kinnon has need for one. As a junior player with the Halifax Mooseheads he usually went by the handle "Nate Dogg" partially in honor of one of his favorite rappers. That seems incongruent taking one look at the 18-year-old Avs rookie. MacKinnon doesn't care what people are calling him these days but there is one thing he is determined not be called when this season is over: a bust. MacKinnon knows he wasn't everybody's first choice among the Avs' fan base when the team had the No. 1 pick in this summer's NHL draft. There was a local kid named Seth Jones who seemed to fit the team's needs better as a big defenseman. Some even said one of MacKinnon's teammates from the Mooseheads Jonathan Drouin was a more worthy pick. But MacKinnon was the Avs' first choice and after a preseason that had its ups and downs the baby-faced kid from Nova Scotia is ready to start proving he was worth the fuss. Against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center the MacKinnon Era will begin along with that of the coach/VP of hockey operations Patrick Roy who probably had more faith than anyone else that MacKinnon was the right pick. "It's pretty neat that we both have our first games at the same time" MacKinnon said of Roy who will debut as coach after a Hall of Fame playing career including eight seasons in Denver. "It's going to be cool. I don't really know how I'm going to feel yet. Obviously there's going to be some butterflies but right now I don't feel nervous really." MacKinnon the first Avs No. 1 overall pick since the team moved to Denver in 1995 will start the season centering a third line with Jamie McGinn and P.A. Parenteau. MacKinnon's parents will be at Wednesday's game along with games Friday at home and Tuesday in Toronto. He also has been living in the basement of his second parents of sorts goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and his wife. MacKinnon Giguere said is a quiet tenant for the most part usually surfing his computer listening to music on headphones. "He's been great. He's been good with the kids. He plays hockey with them a little basketball" Giguere said. "He has a good setup downstairs playing his video games and his computer and stuff." Though MacKinnon had a tough start to training camp suffering a hip flexor injury during his first exhibition game he finished strong with a dynamic game Saturday against the Kings in Las Vegas. His speed will be tough for opponents to handle and his skill level with the puck is high. But there remains a lot to learn and not many rookies come into the NHL and dominate. "We know that and all I want is for Nathan to be himself and have fun" Roy said. "He will see this is as different level than junior but I have no doubt he will succeed as a player." Roy moved Parenteau off a line with Matt Duchene to play with MacKinnon to take some of the playmaking stresses away from him at the start. Parenteau who also has played on a line with a former No. 1 pick — John Tavares with the Islanders — sees a bright future for MacKinnon. "He's so fast and skilled but the big thing is he works hard and wants to learn" Parenteau said. "I think it's going to be fun with him around."
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