Kukla's Korner

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Nathan MacKinnon Plans On A Bounce Back Year

from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,

In his debut NHL season, MacKinnon was a teen sensation. He scored 24 goals and added 39 assists as a rookie. While goalie Semyon Varla- mov was rock-solid between the pipes, MacKinnon was the X factor that made Colorado the league's most surprising team, claiming a division championship and earning a berth in the playoffs.

In his second NHL season, however, the teen spirit no longer was enough for Mac- Kinnon, and everything became work. He said for the first time in his young life, playing hockey was difficult. With the Avalanche sinking toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings and his confidence shaken, MacKinnon's scoring touch disappeared early in 2015, and for the first time, he dealt with the frustration of enduring a month-long drought without a goal.

"That's not fun," said MacKinnon, poking through the ashes of his sophomore slump. "I worked pretty hard in the summer to get ready. Then you don't have a good start and it just kind of carries over through the whole season. You get down on yourself."

These were the words MacKinnon had to keep repeating: "You're 19 in the NHL. It's not easy."

Hey, I was as guilty as anyone in expecting too much too soon. MacKinnon's talent is undeniable and obvious. He has the right stuff to uphold the grand Avalanche tradition of Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic. But actually doing it on the ice? It's way harder than it looks, and can be a heavier burden than most players are willing to admit.

"Being part of the Avs, it adds to the pressure. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of guys I looked up to, guys like Forsberg and Sakic and (Patrick) Roy," Matt Duchene said.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nathan+mackinnon

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com