Nathan MacKinnon was this week's guest on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast with Paul Bissonnette and Ryan Whitney, and he told a few Sidney Crosby stories in his appearance.
The full podcast can be heard here. MacKinnon joins the show at the 22-minute mark.
MacKinnon mentions a few times how much of a Crosby "super fan" he was growing up. He first met Crosby at age 14 or 15 while working with Crosby's trainer, Andy O'Brien.
"I was freaking out," MacKinnon recalled. "I saw him walking up from his house, and I was like, freaking out. I remember him, my dad, and Andy were just all talking. And I just did high knees, because Andy told me to do high knees. So I didn't stop for like 20 minutes, going back and forth. I was just doing high knees because I was too scared to stop and ask if I should do something else. I was just looking at Sid the whole time, I wanted to impress him, that I worked hard and was serious about hockey."
The first time MacKinnon actually worked out with Crosby was a few days after MacKinnon was drafted by the Avalanche in 2013. O'Brien and Crosby usually head to Prince Edward Island that time of year for beach workouts, and MacKinnon joined them.
"I go there, I meet Sid, and I'm just fired up," MacKinnon said. "I just can't wait to work out with Sidney Crosby. We're doing this workout, and I'm exhausted. ... We do 10 hill sprints up a sand dune, and he beats me on all nine to start. He crushed me on all nine. ... I'm like, 'Yes! He's beating me. This is great.' I was too scared, I didn't even want to beat him. But on the 10th sprint, I got the head start. And I was beating him, I was halfway up the hill. Then I feel this hand on my ankle, and then my face smacks into the sand. I don't even know him, I'm 17, I'm beating him up the hill and he literally grabbed my ankle and dragged me down the sand dune, finished the race and got his 10 victories."
MacKinnon and Crosby skate together in Nova Scotia every summer, and are joined with other local professional players like Brad Marchand. MacKinnon said that Marchand is "exactly like how'd you think" during the summer skates.
"The whole time, (Marchand) is just chirping everybody on the ice," MacKinnon laughed. "He's just carving everybody. If you lose the puck, he's all over you. If he snipes, he's showing everybody. But he's an awesome guy, I love being around Marchy."
Their training group is also in a group text, and they talk throughout the year. Bissonnette asked if they chirp Marchand in the group text when he does something like lick another player's face during the season.
"I think nobody is surprised what (Marchand) does anymore," MacKinnon said. "We're just chirping each other all the time, we have a lot of fun."
Their group gave Crosby a rapper-esque nickname, "Lil' Cros."