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Nathan MacKinnon snatches Coyotes player's helmet, chucks it back in his face

Thomas Williams
·Hockey writer
·2-min read

It wasn’t enough to bully the Arizona Coyotes on the scoreboard.

In one of the more dehumanizing highlights of the year, Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon decided to pick on diminutive Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland during a skirmish late in the third period with Colorado up 8-3, ripping the helmet off his head and throwing it back in his face.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in there.

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The entire sequence earned the reigning Lady Byng winner two minor roughing penalties, a 10-minute misconduct and a $5,000 fine from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for unsportsmanlike conduct. It also inspired some creative fans to remix the sequence with varying sound effects.  

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Surprisingly, this wasn't the most penalty minutes MacKinnon has racked up in a single game. Back in December 2017, he finished the night with 15 — a five-minute fighting major and game misconduct — for his role in a line brawl against, you guessed it, the Arizona Coyotes. 

After the Avalanche's 9-3 win on Wednesday, Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet had some words to say about the officiating.

Nathan MacKinnon chucks his helmet at Connor Garland.
Nathan MacKinnon chucks his helmet at Connor Garland.

"I didn't see it until I saw the highlights. I thought if you did that you got some kind of ... I don't know if it would have mattered, but maybe get some more minutes on the power play. Keep those guys off the score sheet," he said

MacKinnon finished the game with two assists, while linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen were able to earn three points each. 

With their dominant win, the Avalanche were able to jump ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot in the West Division with a 23-8-4 record.

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