Kadri not at practice; Sid vs. Nate in Cole Harbour faceoffs
With a home-and-home two-game set against the Penguins coming up Saturday in Denver and Tuesday at Pittsburgh, the Avalanche practiced Friday at Family Sports Center — without Nazem Kadri and J.T. Comper taking part.
Kadri took an unpenalized hit midway through the third period against San Jose Thursday night and obviously was in pain, but he shortly after returned to the ice and assisted on the Avs’ final two goals in the 4-2 win.
Still, he wasn’t at practice Friday.
“He’s getting evaluated today,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “So we’ll see about him for tomorrow. . . We’ll see when he gets back from his appointments today. ”
Bednar termed it a maintenance day for Compher.
The next two games will spotlight the matchups between the close friends, offseason training partners and Tim Hortons commercials co-stars — Pittsbugh’s Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon. They’re billed as both being from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, part of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
MacKinnon was not among the players made available to the media Friday.
Flash back to a couple of scenes at a Tim Hortons drive-thru in Halifax early in MacKinnon’s NHL career.
In 2016, as a woman pulled up to the menu and order screen, she heard the young man taking her order ask her a strange question.
“Who would you rather be stranded on a desert island with? Sidney Crosby or Nathan MacKinnon?”
Reflectively, the woman answered: “I love ’em both, both hometown boys. But Nate’s a little young for me, so I guess I’ll go with Sidney.”
The Hortons worker retorted: “All right. I mean, young at heart, but I’m very mature for my age.”
Starting to put two and two together, the woman was suspicious.
After she drove forward, reached the window and spotted MacKinnon and Crosby, the Halifax natives working at the window, she exclaimed, “Holy …” then added to MacKinnon, “You’re still too young for me.”
That was part of annual Hortons advertising campaigns, and the MacKinnon-Crosby commercials a year earlier, in 2015, were as clever and funny.
At several points, Crosby asked customers — who still were at the ordering screen and couldn’t see the window workers — trivia questions.
One was: “Can you name a hockey player from the East Coast?”
“Uh, Sidney Crosby?” a woman answered.
“Good answer, drive right through.”
When several answered Crosby, MacKinnon was exasperated.
Then Crosby tried to prompt a woman who had named him. “From Cole Harbour, who else comes to mind?” he asked.
“Oh!” the woman exclaimed. “There’s this guy, my God, he just got drafted a year ago! Oh, last name begins with an ‘M.’ Um … McGinnis!”
That’s how far MacKinnon has come the past few seasons. He has been a finalist for the Hart Trophy three of the past four seasons, and I’m among those who believe he should have won it at least once, in 2018. Taylor Hall of the Devils was the choice.
MacKinnon is flat out one of the top handful of players in the NHL.
That might be understating it.
Crosby is 34, a great player still but nonetheless encroaching on his twilight.
“I’m sure it’s fun for Nate and Sid,” Bednar said Friday. “They’re good buddies, they train together all summer. And then to sort of square off a couple times of year, I think it’s a lot of fun. This one happens to be a back-to-back.
“More to it for me, though, this is a really deep team and they’re playing some good hockey right now. They’re on the rise in the standings and looking real strong throughout their lineup. So it’s not going to be just Nate vs. Sid. It’s our whole lineup vs. their whole lineup.”
NOTES: Bednar said he wasn’t planning on finding a way to watch Bo Byram’s Friday night appearance with the Colorado Eagles at the Ontario Reign. He said he’d leave that to Joe Sakic and Chris MacFarland. “They’ll watch it and talk to (Eagles coach Greg Cronin) after and see how Bo is doing,” Bednar said.
Byram also is scheduled to play in the second game of the set on Saturday night. The longest Byram can be with the Eagles on the conditioning loan is three games and six days.