Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon begin NHL season on sidelines

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Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is expected to miss six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images - image credit)
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is expected to miss six weeks after undergoing wrist surgery. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images - image credit)

With the 2021-22 NHL season beginning this week, two of the league's biggest Nova Scotian stars, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, are both sidelined.

There are now eight Nova Scotia hockey players beginning the season on NHL rosters.

Here's a look at each player and where their careers are headed.

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby underwent a minor surgery on his left wrist nearly six weeks ago and sat out Pittsburgh's opening game on Tuesday, a 6-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Crosby has been skating with his team and could be back in the lineup for their next game in Florida Thursday night.

For years known as Sid the Kid, the 34-year-old Crosby is now entering his 17th NHL season. He had an excellent season last year when he had 62 points in just 55 games during the COVID shortened season.

Nathan MacKinnon

The other NHL superstar from Cole Harbour will also be sitting out his team's first game.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nathan MacKinnon has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play against Chicago Wednesday night. Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said MacKinnon is asymptomatic and will continue to get tested.

MacKinnon is now in his ninth season in Colorado and racked up 65 points last season in just 48 games.

Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand has been suspended numerous times throughout his career but his game has never been better. Now, instead of being known as an NHL bad boy, he's regarded as one of the top two-way players in the game.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Hammonds Plains native is now 33 years old and entering his 13th season, all with the Boston Bruins. He outscored both Crosby and MacKinnon last year with 69 points in 53 games.

All three players are expected to be named to the 2022 Canadian Olympic team.

Ryan Graves

Yarmouth defenceman Ryan Graves is starting the season with a new team.

Due to impending expansion draft considerations, Colorado traded Graves to New Jersey in the off season. While the Devils are a team that may not make the playoffs, Graves could play a more prominent role in New Jersey.

This will be the third full season in the NHL for the 26-year-old.

Michael Martin/Colorado Avalanche
Michael Martin/Colorado Avalanche

Drake Batherson

The off season came with a big payday for Drake Batherson of New Minas, N.S.

The Ottawa Senators signed Batherson to a six-year contract worth $29.85 million US.

Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

His stock continued to rise last season when he scored goals in six straight games during a second-half run that helped the 23-year-old earn his big raise and solidify his future with the team.

Matthew Highmore

The 25-year-old from Dartmouth split last season between Chicago and Vancouver. The Canucks acquired him from the Blackhawks in a mid-season trade.

Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs
Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs

The former Saint John Sea Dogs star has now played 91 NHL games, scoring seven goals. Now in his first full season with Vancouver, it will be important for Highmore to get off to a good start and establish himself in the Canucks organization.

Liam O'Brien

The player with the nickname "The Big Tuna" was called up to the Colorado Avalanche late last season and registered three assists in a dozen games. It was his first NHL action since 2017 when he played for Washington.

Colorado Avalanche/Twitter
Colorado Avalanche/Twitter

In the off season, O'Brien agreed to a tryout with the Arizona Coyotes and he made the team's roster to start the season. The Coyotes are coached by former Halifax Mooseheads head coach Andre Tourigny.

Logan Shaw

The 29-year-old Glace Bay native begins the season as a teammate to Batherson with the Ottawa Senators. Shaw is likely to split the season between Ottawa and their minor league affiliate in Belleville, Ont., where Shaw played 24 games last year. Throughout his career, Shaw has played in 215 NHL games with Florida, Anaheim, Montreal and Winnipeg.

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