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MacKinnon Opens Up On Various Subjects In Fantastic Interview



Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon nhl

Nathan MacKinnon doesn’t give many long-form interviews in Colorado, but when he does them with the National Media, they’re always very entertaining.

Prior to him owning the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, MacKinnon sat down with Elliotte Friedman for an interview that was released on Monday’s episode of 32 Thoughts. And it really was a fantastic interview. MacKinnon touched on a lot of different subjects, including Gabriel Landeskog, the Golden Knights, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Drouin, Nikola Jokic, and a lot more.

I don’t want to post the entire interview, and I would highly recommend giving it a listen here, but here are some of the best parts.

On the subject of Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche superstar had this to say…

“It’s great. Just to have his presence back in the room, he’s in our team meetings now. He’ll come to the odd powerplay meeting with our unit. Just hearing his input is so valuable. Just having that voice back. This is my 11th season now, and there’s not many players that have a big presence in the room. A lot of guys are in and out, they’re new, but he’s been there since day one and has such a big presence as the captain.”

Will Landeskog be there to start the playoffs?

“I’m praying he is. He’s doing all the right things, and he looks great. It’s just hard, I don’t want to put something out there, but we’re all very hopeful. He’s an irreplaceable player and person, so we’re all praying he’s back.”

On the Golden Knights…

“I don’t hate them. I respect them, honestly. I think they’re an awesome team. They beat us in a playoff series a couple years ago, and then they won the Cup a couple years later. I know Jack Eichel a little bit, and I respect his game. He’s a good person, works really hard. There’s a big rivalry there, for sure. If we want to get to the Finals, I think we’re going to have to go through Vegas, which is not going to be easy, but I think we’re up for the challenge.”

On if MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby will ever play together.

“I hope so. I’m hoping, I don’t know what’s before the 2026 Olympics, there might be something, but I guess the main thing I’m focused on is the Olympics. I think Sid has a ton of game left. I think he can play as long as he wants to, honestly. I’m a believer that primes are a little longer now, and if you do the right things, look at guys like him, Pavelski. There’s lots of examples of guys very successful in their 30’s and I think Sid’s going to be a great player 2-3 years from now. Hopefully I can stay good enough to make that team, and play together.”

On who he likes to watch when he’s not playing…

“I think Sid. I watch a lot of Pittsburgh games. I watch Brayden Schenn as well. Just two good friends of mine. Tyson Barrie in Nashville, and then I love watching Kucherov. I think everyone does. If you asked everybody’s favorite player in the NHL, I think they’d say Kucherov. I think everyone is a big fan of his. Obviously McDavid is McDavid. I like watching Pastrnak, he’s a right handed shot guy. Big fan of the game.”

On Jonathan Drouin

“First of all, I know he’s a great person, and he’s even better as a person than 10 years ago when we were in High School. His talent, it’s still there, you can see it this season. He had a slow first 10 games, just getting comfortable, and now he’s taken off. He’s looked awesome. We’re playing together on a line, and he’s earned it. He was getting healthy scratched and still had a smile on his face everyday. He took less money to come to us, which is great, but I just felt like the value he would bring, I just felt like there’s so much more there. I can’t speak on Montreal, but I know in Denver, it’s pretty good. There’s not a ton of pressure. He can kind of do his thing and fly under the radar. He even talks about just going to the grocery store now, he’s just a civilian living his life, and I think he really enjoys that…he loves hockey. He watches every game, like he really loves the game. We can just talk about anything, and I think when you have a friend from your childhood, pretty much, you just feel so comfortable with them. We drive together a lot, on road dinners, we go every time together. We do a lot of the same workouts together. We’re just together all the time in the gym, after practice, we’re just on the same page with everything, which is awesome. You don’t find that a ton, that friendship, so I’m grateful that we are teammates again, and we’ve had a lot of fun together this year.”

MacKinnon on Nuggets star Nikola Jokic…

“I wouldn’t say we have a relationship. I’ve met him a few times at events like that (Mile High Gala), I’ll go to some Nuggets games and see him there, and say hi to him there. I know Caleb Jones’ dad, Popeye Jones, so I talked to him last night at the event. I’m just so interested in Joker. I think he’s an anomaly, obviously. He doesn’t have social media, and I watched an interview he did with Michael Porter Jr. Him and Joker did an interview, and he says he doesn’t want a phone when he retires. He just lives like a low-profile kind of life, and everyone talks about how selfless he is. He’s not worried about external awards, he just wants to win and have fun with his teammates. I think he’s an awesome guy to look at as an athlete and try to emulate. You hear things, and that’s actually not true at all (Joker not trying). I always thought that too, but I guess he’s an animal in the gym after games. He’s actually super competitive, he’s gotten suspended a couple of times for hitting people. Have you seen his brothers? He’s a fiery guy, and I think he just looks so funny. I guess people say he treats it like a 9-to-5, and doesn’t even like it, but I hear behind the scenes how hard he works, and how much he loves to compete and win, so maybe there’s a little bit to it that I do hopefully.”

The interview spanned well over 25 minutes, so I would highly recommend it for all Colorado Avalanche (and hockey) fans. MacKinnon is always honest in interviews, but rarely does something this long, so enjoy.

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