As if Halifax and Moncton is not enough of a rivalry, now the Mooseheads' faithful can blame the ice at the old Coliseum for sidelining big shining star, Nathan MacKinnon.
The second-ranked prospect for this season's draft will miss "seven to 14 days" for the Mooseheads with a lower-body injury. As it happened, Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore had isolated video that showed MacKinnon favouring his right leg after apparently catching a skate in a rut last Friday when Halifax lost 8-5 on the road to the Moncton Wildcats.
The upshot is the Moncton-Halifax rematch on Saturday could occur without each team's star player. Wildcats scoring leader Dmitrij Jaskin got a match penalty for a check to the head against the Rimouski Océanic on Monday.
Here's the play. MacKinnon was a gamer, finishing his shift despite apparent discomfort.
The injury did not appear to be serious. Mooseheads coach Dominique Ducharme has already spoken of needing to get MacKinnon and fellow 17-year-old sensation Jonathan Drouin some time off before the playoffs, since both play major minutes and also had the added physical stress of going to Russia for the world junior championship. This might lead to that end.
Drouin, with 72 points in 35 games compared to MacKinnon's 69 in 41, has been the more prolific scorer among the two prized prospects, which has fomented debate over who should be drafted first this summer. There is a strain of thought that Drouin benefits more from the space created by defenders' need to account for MacKinnon than the other way around. Plus, the Mooseheads' power play seems configured to have MacKinnon facilitate for his teammates with Drouin finishing from his frequent perch to the left of the goalie (it's a right shot/left shot deal, I guess). Drouin would be good with any number of skilled players, but how he fares minus MacKinnon is a chance to see him in another environment.