Duck rookie forward Mason McTavish worked with players who were told they would not be in the lineup for Wednesday’s Ducks season opener against the Winnipeg Jets. His parents, Dale and Christine, and brother Darian had come to town, but gave up their allotted tickets as they were not expected to play.
Around 4 p.m. a phone call from coach Dallas Eakins changed their plans. Max Jones had a non-Covid disease and could not play, Eakins told him. Arrive at the rink.
“I canceled my tickets and then had to retake them for them,” McTavish said of his family. “However, it was a very special moment.”
The ticket-acquisition effort was well worth it. Displaying fearlessness and a knack for the Nets, which prompted the Ducks to be selected third in the June Entry Draft, McTavish became the youngest player to score a goal in franchise history at 18 years and 256 days. His impression was on his impressive 4-1 win over the Jets at Honda Center, an encouraging sign for a team that urgently needs all the size, smarts and goal-scoring talent he and the other kids can bring.
“To be honest, I couldn’t have dreamed better,” said McTavish, who was three days younger than Oleg Tverdovsky when Tverdovsky scored a goal in Dallas on February 1, 1995. which I would never do. forget it.”
McTavish screened Jets goalkeeper Conor Hellebuch on the first goal of a duck, scored from a pointed angle by Kevin Chattenkirk, and the second goal by tossing over a loose puck near the right post. Although a referee initially waved the goal on the grounds that the whistle was blown, the play was reviewed by the NHL Status Room and the goal was awarded because it was considered “the culmination of a continuous play where the result was unaffected.” Whistle. ”
McTavish celebrated heartily but then had to wait for the review results. He took it seriously. “I have to score two goals. Celebrated twice anyway,” said McTavish, who was born in Switzerland while his father played there, but represents Canada in international sport. “I wasn’t sure why. What is going to happen, but when they announced the target, I was very excited.”
His teammates were equally excited after being irritated when it appeared that the goal might not count. Eakins feared that he might be tossed for arguing so vigorously on the call.
“It’s one thing to call back a goal. It’s another when it’s an 18-year-old first-round pick on your first night that was called at 4 a.m.,” Eakins said. “I was literally like, ‘Oh no, we won’t have enough people to finish the game’ because they were pissed, and thankfully, good on the referee and the situation room, they quickly reviewed it and got it right. ”
McTavish also kept the play alive so the Ducks could capture his third goal, earning an assist after passing Cam Fowler for a shot that was driven into the net by Adam Heinrich during a duck power play. The Ducks, whose power play was a historically poor 8.9% last season, scored twice with Man Advantage in another crucial moment on Wednesday. A spirited John Gibson made 33 saves, and his teammates avenged the Jets’ relentless attacks in their crease.
But the evening belonged to McTavish and who he represents.
The Ducks have made some major draft picks during their painfully long rebuilding process, but they haven’t been a game-breaker. One performance, as good as it was, isn’t enough to declare McTavish a star, but his strength gives him a good chance of success in the NHL. His father played nine games with Calgary in the 1996–97 season, scoring one goal and three points; Mason could pass on Friday, when the Ducks face Minnesota at the Honda Center.
“I think his style of play, his game, will be able to translate,” Heinrich said. “I think the way he plays, he’s not afraid to go out there and just play his game. That’s what happens when you’re a youngster. Sometimes you get a little nervous when you get here And they get away from their game and then it turns around. I thought he did a great job.”
As noted by Eakins, McTavish isn’t a skinny kid who has to add muscle and strength to play in the NHL. He’s 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds strong enough to stop defenders when he gets into dangerous areas around the net. During training camp, Eakins noticed this and consistently noticed two traits: patience and competitiveness. “This kid isn’t afraid to go in. He is not afraid to go on the net. And he’s got a heavy, heavy shot,” Eakins said.
“And that’s been all business. Every day, all business. I think I said it a few days ago, a lot of kids come in like this, pick drafts, even highs, and they Let’s take the approach, ‘This is awesome. I’m in NHL camp but I have two years my junior left,’ or whatever and then you go back. But he’s got one thing on his mind – that he’s hockey. The team is going to build. And hey, his first game was great and his journey continues.”
McTavish’s teammates pucked him with his goal, but he wasn’t sure what he would do with it. Maybe give it to your parents, he said. He helped get her here. The rest is up to him, and his debut indicates happiness in the days ahead for the Duck.