DENVER (AP) — Nathan MacKinnon may be looking for a couch to crash on the rest of the season after the Colorado Avalanche traded away his roommate and ride to the rink.
The talented teenager has been living in the basement of forward Maxime Talbot, who was packaged with Paul Carey and sent to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline Monday. In return, Colorado received forward Jordan Caron and a sixth-round pick in 2016.
First, MacKinnon breaks his nose. Now, his happy home has been broken up. Just the way things have been going for MacKinnon these days.
Following his first NHL hat trick last week, MacKinnon was benched late in an important game Friday in Dallas. A night later, he was dropped to the fourth line against Minnesota and ended up breaking his nose on a third-period hit.
But MacKinnon was breathing a lot easier Monday. Not so much because he thought he was going anywhere at the trade deadline — of course, he wasn’t — but because the pain was subsiding.
“I guess I’m a hockey player now with a broken nose,” cracked MacKinnon, who was dubbed “Twisted Beak” by Talbot and will wear a visor to protect his nose.
As for his feelings? Well, they’re hardly bruised, the 19-year-old insisted. He understood coach Patrick Roy’s logic behind benching him in Dallas, because, “the first shift I was benched, they scored. We started rolling, so I mean when things are going well, you don’t want to mess with it.”
MacKinnon also got why he was demoted off one of the top lines, with Roy wanting to keep the chemistry going on the second night of a back-to-back. MacKinnon’s sophomore season hasn’t been all that sensational, with MacKinnon recording 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists). This after registering 63 points a year ago as the league’s top rookie.
“I’m not rattled by this,” MacKinnon said. “At first, you’re kind of like in shock. Because it doesn’t happen very often. (Roy) knows what he’s doing and his best interest is winning. I know it’s nothing personal.
“I wasn’t playing well.”
The Avs haven’t really clicked this season like they did a year ago, when Roy’s squad caught the league by surprise and tied the franchise record with 52 wins. The Avs are currently out of the playoff picture and trail several teams with only 19 games left.
“There’s no quit in this room,” Jarome Iginla said. “We just have to keep going and try to put a streak together.”
General manager Joe Sakic didn’t do anything to drastically shake up the team at the deadline. That was by design. He recently said he wants to keep a young core led by MacKinnon together.
Colorado also made some smaller trades, picking up forward Freddie Hamilton from San Jose for defenseman Karl Stollery. Later, the team acquired defenseman Mat Clark from Anaheim for forward Michael Sgarbossa. Hamilton and Clark will both be sent to Lake Erie of the American Hockey League.
In the Talbot trade, the Avs acquired the 24-year-old Caron, who was Boston’s first-round pick in 2009.
With Talbot’s departure, MacKinnon may now be house hunting. This was the second straight season in which MacKinnon has lived with a veteran player. He stayed with goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere a season ago.
MacKinnon was really settling in at the Talbot household, too, saying a few months ago, “It makes life easier. His wife is a great cook. I’m loving it there.” He and Talbot frequently shared a ride to practice.
Defenseman Jan Hejda and forward Daniel Briere remained on the team, despite their names being mentioned in trade rumors. It’s been a stressful day for Hejda, who didn’t want to leave town even if he had a chance to play for a contender.
“I want to win a Stanley Cup for this team,” Hejda said.
Ryan O’Reilly can exhale, too, knowing he’s still in a Colorado sweater. Sakic recent gave him a vote of confidence, saying the team hopes to work out a long-term deal with O’Reilly in the offseason.
“That’s nice to hear,” O’Reilly said.
This article was written by Pat Graham from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.