Nathan MacKinnon is getting love.
Heading into Monday’s games, MacKinnon leads the league rookies in goals (22), assists (30), points (52) and shots (195). His 13-game scoring streak this winter broke a 34-year-old record for an 18-year-old NHLer – held by no less than Wayne Gretzky.
The Calder Memorial Trophy for the league’s top rookie, which two years ago went to Landeskog, is almost a certainty for MacKinnon.
Previous runaway winners include: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin in 2007, Winnipeg Jets winger Teemu Selanne in 1993, Boston Bruins blueliner Raymond Bourque in 1979 and New York Islanders defenceman Denis Potvin in 1974. and, of course, the Bruins’ sensational Bobby Orr in 1967, when the runner-up was Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ed Van Impe.
Roy is getting love as well.
Roy insists on sharing credit with his staff – which includes former QMJHL head coaches André Tourigny and Mario Duhamel, as well as Roy’s own former NHL position coach François Allaire.
“We want to have a partnership between the players and coaches. … When you explain why rather than just say, ‘It’s like this because,’ everyone feels involved, and it creates a good climate for everyone,” he said.
So good, in fact, Giguère says he hasn’t raised his voice once with the team, “even when we deserved it.”
Wait, this is the wild man who on 2013-14 opening night nearly tore down a partition between the benches as he went after Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau? The man who used to light up like a road flare behind the Remparts bench? Who was alleged to have been involved in a parking-lot punch-up with another junior team’s owner?
NHL.com has five questions with the Captain.
Have you noticed that the city is rallying around the Avs, likely for the first time since you've been in Denver?
"Yeah. Oh, absolutely. It's a big difference. You're noticing every day. Every game we win more and more people are recognizing you, and more and more people are coming up to you in a grocery store to congratulate you and wish you good luck in all of this. That's a lot of fun. It's a buzz that we want to keep going. It's a lot of fun to be a part of it. Certainly you notice what a sports city and what a hockey town Denver is and still could be. We're certainly enjoying it. I don't know if the [National Football League's] Broncos had a part in it, when their season ended maybe some of their fans had been missing hockey or needed some more Denver sports, and they came over to us. Either way I think certainly we're enjoying it and we want to keep the thing going.
"Our last game in Ottawa [Sunday night] was a great example of it. We're not used to going on the road and having hundreds of fans. We've seen a few, and don't get me wrong … we have great fan support on the road, but [Sunday] night in Ottawa was fantastic. It was fun for Avs fans. We loved seeing the jerseys and hearing the cheers when we scored."