Halifax Mooseheads’ Nathan MacKinnon scores goals all Canada needs to see (VIDEO)

When you think about it, it is quite something that Nathan MacKinnon can score a great goal and not have the video get into wide circulation right away.

The 16-year-old Halifax Mooseheads phenom, whom as you know is projected to be the No. 1 choice in the 2013 NHL draft, is off to a terrific start in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. MacKinnon has five goals and seven points in three games for Halifax, who have shot out to a 3-0 lead in their first-round series against the Moncton Wildcats. While he has done it alone, obviously, he's also restored interest in his hometown's junior hockey team, who drew more than twice as many fans to their first two playoff games (14,987) than they did last year (6,511). To top it off, MacKinnon (yes, he's from the same town, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, as Sidney Crosby and yes, he attended the same U.S. prep school) has produced two highlight-reel goals so far during the series.

First came Friday's spinnerama goal. TSN's Sportscentre had it as highlight of the night, but it seems to have disappeared into the ether.With the Mooseheads on the power play, MacKinnon drew the Wildcats' best defenceman, James Melindy, close to him near the half-wall. With a rapid 180-degree spin, he got away from Melindy, then kept control of the puck while navigating between diving defender Patrick Downe and the pokecheck of goalie Roman Will before scoring.

That was good, but it might not even the best move MacKinnon has pulled so far in the post-season. On Monday night, he took a pass in front of Will and rather than turn to shoot, put his stick through his legs and wired the puck into the net. It takes great strength and fast-twitch muscles to pull that off, so it's pretty remarkable for someone who is five months shy of turning 17.

Fortunately, Mooseheads play-by-play man John Moore captured the first goal for posterity and posted it online or it might have quickly disappeared. It does still baffle the mind that the Canadian Hockey League's TV partner, Sportsnet, did not bend over backwards to show MacKinnon's first playoff game; there's some irony their competitor, TSN, ended up featuring it.

Stars sell, as much as one might wish that was not the case, and there's a fair chance viewers with a casual and fleeting interest in junior hockey might be more interested to watch a future NHL No. 1 overall pick than they would in any particular matchup from a league 2-3 time zones away.

Sportsnet aired Game 1 of the defending MasterCard Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs' series vs. the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, which is widely anticipated to be a walkover. It was not an entirely illogical choice. Four Sea Dogs — Jonathan Huberdeau, Nathan Beaulieu, Charlie Coyle and Tomas Jurco — have some name recognition from playing in the world junior championship. Sportsnet was also committed to broadcasting the CIS University Cup from Fredericton, N.B., on Saturday and Sunday, using the same commentators. It's only about a one-hour drive from Saint John to Fredericton, so the logistics were fairly obvious.

But the game was the dog everyone expected, with Saint John winning 13-4. How did a game like that stimulate broader interest in junior hockey? Any channel-flipper unfamiliar with the QMJHL who happened across the telecast likely didn't come away with a positive impression of junior hockey.

An opportunity was lost, arguably for the sake of a shorter commute. Halifax to Fredericton is a five-hour drive on a clear day.

It is a positive step for the CHL that it scored the Friday Night Hockey package with a major sports network such as Sportsnet. The marketing emphasis — more on teams and the grassroots passion for the junior game than on marquee players — is a little telling. MacKinnon is only 16, but seems very well-adjusted, so there's little to no chance of having a little marketing hype go to his head. It's all part of recognizing the next star, for next season.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (videos: Eastlink TV, Telus).