Nathan MacKinnon sporting new outlook after long layoff from Mooseheads
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That’s the one virtue Nathan MacKinnon believes he’s come close to mastering since sitting out 14 games with a minor MCL injury.
“That’s the biggest thing,” said the Halifax Mooseheads forward. “There was nothing I could do about it. I just had to rest and that took time."
Finally, the 17-year-old sniper is making his return to the lineup in Wednesday’s road match up against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Having played only 41 regular season games, MacKinnon sits No. 4 in team scoring with 69 points. He’s anxious to get back in game shape and add to those totals. But at the same time he says he’s gained a finer appreciation of just how good this year’s Mooseheads team is.
“I always knew we had a great team,” said MacKinnon. “But when you watch as many games as I have you realize how special this group of guys is and how everyone can play any role. Guys on our third or fourth line would be scorers on any other team.”
Probably no one is more eager for his return than Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme.
For Ducharme there’s no replacing his well rounded forward.
“He brings speed and tenacity,” said Ducharme. “He plays tough and it’s a headache to play against MacKinnon and Drouin and the Boudreau line."
While Jonathan Drouin has continued his torrid point production for the Mooseheads with the absence of MacKinnon, Ducharme said he would reunite the pair on the first line upon MacKinnon’s return.
The Cole Harbour standout said he’s pretty much 100 per cent after an intense physio routine. He knows clearly what’s at stake and he’s hoping to have a long playoff run.
"There's tons of pressure on us going into the playoffs but it's a new challenge and I'm embracing it."