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MacKinnon, Crosby Plotting Their Dominance On International Stage

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Everyone knows Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby spend their off-seasons training together and pushing each other. The dream that Avalanche fans have of the two playing together in Colorado is unlikely to happen, but the duo finally suiting up for the same team in a best-on-best international tournament looks like it will finally take place next year in the 4 Nations Face-Off.

The two superstars have begun planning for that moment.

“Me and Sid were just on a golf trip, talking about the powerplay, the lines,” MacKinnon told TSN1050. “I’d love to play right wing with him. That’d be my little kid in me, I would gladly go to the wing. Can’t win face-offs anyway, so that would work. That would be a dream.”

MacKinnon is coming off a Hart Trophy caliber season where he put up 140 points for the Avalanche, while Crosby tried his hardest to drag the Pittsburgh Penguins into the playoffs with 94 points in 82 games. He wasn’t quite able to pull it off, but showed that he’s still an elite player, even at the age of 36.

It sounds like MacKinnon was one of the NHL players who played a role in planning the 4 Nations Face-Off that will take place in February of 2025. I’m having a hard time getting too excited about that tournament, simply because a lot of the best players in the world won’t even able to take part in it, and it sounds like MacKinnon was the same way, as he was focused more on the Olympics in 2026.

That’s starting to change for him.

“When I first started with the 4 Nations, I didn’t think much about it,” MacKinnon told Jeff Marek. “I think the Olympics are so prevalent in my mind, it’s all I want to do for Team Canada, but I’m really excited now.”

Okay, so Crosby at center, and MacKinnon at right wing. That’s a pretty good start to a line if you ask me. You’ve got your dominant center who can play at both ends of the ice, and that might free MacKinnon up to go nuts with a little less responsibility. Who is the ideal player to put on the other wing?

“It’d be really cool to play with Sid on a line and maybe (Marchand). Just a Nova Scotia line. That’d be pretty special.” MacKinnon told Marek.

Marchand would certainly add a unique element to that line, and give it a little bit of everything. Marchand’s production took a slight step back this past season, but I’m sure he’ll make the team. While we won’t know the names of everyone who will play in the 4 Nations Face-off until we get closer to the tournament, the first few players for every roster will be announced on June 28. I’m guessing MacKinnon and Crosby will be among those named on that day, and Mikko Rantanen will probably be named to Team Finland as well. The United States and Sweden are the other two countries that will compete in the tournament.

The 4 Nations Face-Off will take place in Montreal and Boston next year from Feb. 12-20.

“It’s going to be really fun,” MacKinnon said. “It’s cool that it’s mid-season. I’ve never played mid-season in an event, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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