MacKinnon dreamed of playing for Avs as a child


Much has been made about high-end prospect Seth Jones’ childhood connections to the Colorado Avalanche, but fellow potential No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon apparently dreamed of wearing the burgundy and blue, too.

MacKinnon’s father Graham told the Denver Post that Nathan wrote that he wanted to play for the Halifax Mooseheads and then the Colorado Avalanche on a personalized hockey card when he was seven or eight years old.

“He said ‘I want to play for the Halifax Mooseheads, then I want to get drafted by Colorado and play with Joe Sakic,’ ” Graham MacKinnon said.

Aside from playing for instead of with Sakic, MacKinnon’s childhood prediction might just come true. (It’s worth noting that photographic evidence of this card hasn’t surfaced yet, so there’s the off chance that his dad is conducting some strange myth-making.)

His father marveled at Nathan’s drive (or some might say, tunnel vision) when it came to making it to the NHL.

“It almost scared me. At age 2, he took right away to skating,” Graham MacKinnon said. “I had trouble keeping up with him, no joke. We never pushed hockey on him at all. He just took to it right away, fell in love with it and hasn’t stopped. When he was 9 or 10, I’d sometimes say to him, ‘You know, not everyone makes it in hockey,’ and he’d just get mad. He’d say, ‘I’m playing hockey, I’m playing hockey. I don’t have a Plan B, I just have a Plan A.’ He’d say, ‘Plan B is just a distraction from Plan A,’ and he was so serious about it.”

Then again, maybe it’s due to his competitive nature.

Many athletes are described as the type of people who don’t want to lose at anything, something that his 19-year-old sister Sarah notices in Nathan.

“We had some fierce Scrabble games growing up,” Sarah MacKinnon said. “He wanted to win at that as much as anything else ever. Whatever it is, Nate just wants to win and be the best.”

Perhaps he’ll get his way – and in the sweater he dreamed of as a kid, to boot – then.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.