Calgary Flames captain and James Norris Memorial Trophy finalist Mark Giordano gave Nathan MacKinnon the best compliment that any hockey player could ask for after Calgary's season came to an end in Game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs on Friday.
"He totally took over, and you have to give him a lot of credit," Giordano told reporter Wes Gilbertson of Postmedia and reporters. "He's a tough player to play against. Connor [McDavid]. Sid [Sidney Crosby]. He's right up there with those two. For anyone who doesn't think MacKinnon is one of the best, if not the best, they might want to look at this series."
MacKinnon responded after a team skate Monday.
"That's really nice of him. He's a great defender," MacKinnon said. "I told him I hope he wins the Norris. He's a great hockey player, he's got a cool story as well, going over to the KHL in his mid-20s then coming back. He's a tough match-up and he's a really good player."
The Avs forward had a beyond-stellar series, recording eight points (3 goals, 5 assists, including the Game 2 overtime winner) during five games.
"Whenever you get compliments from one of the best defenseman in the league you know you're doing something right," MacKinnon said. "But I've had a lot of help."
Giordano compared the Avs forward to Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid as one of the best players in the league.
MacKinnon doesn't think he's there yet, but he hopes to be as good as Crosby one day, he told reporters in response to the compliment.