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Crosby, MacKinnon Already Plotting Team Canada; Who Plays Wing?

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Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (left), Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon (right), talk 2026 Winter Olympics

There are comparatively few hockey players from Nova Scotia. Still, over the next two years, the province’s best players will come to define Team Canada’s success or failure in the Four Nation Face-Off and, more importantly, in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. And if you wondered how important success will be, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are already plotting the lines and power play for Team Canada.

MacKinnon appeared on TSN’s Overdrive show, and the details spilled out.

Crosby, MacKinnon, and Brad Marchand are the trio from near Halifax, Nova Scotia. They work out together in the summer, and they could form the top line for Canada in either or both of the coming international tournaments. There probably isn’t a more talented trio from any province, state, or even country, and MacKinnon also heaped more praise on his buddy Crosby.

“I like that mix. Who knows what (Marchand) is going to do up there? Obviously, Sid is the best ever,” MacKinnon told the show. “I’ll just try to get on the forecheck from the right wing and see what I can do.”

Like Crosby, MacKinnon has won the Stanley Cup and a gold medal at the World Championships, and MacKinnon is a favorite to win this year’s Hart Trophy. However, MacKinnon has not yet been able to play in the Olympic games.

This season, both Crosby and MacKinnon had eye-popping campaigns. Crosby carried the Pittsburgh Penguins through what could have been their worst season in 20 years, and the team nearly made the playoffs with a late rally. Crosby registered the third 40-plus goal season of his career and became one of the highest-scoring players 35 years and older in NHL history.

MacKinnon blitzed NHL goalies for 51 goals and 140 points. Despite the torrid pace leading the Colorado lineup, MacKinnon is happy to play second fiddle to Crosby.

“(I’ve thought about it) a ton. Me and Sid [sic] were on a golf trip, talking about the lines and the power play. I’d love to play right wing with him,” MacKinnon said. “The little kid in me–I’d gladly go to the wing. No problem. I can’t win faceoffs anyway, so that would work. That would be a dream.”

So, the Canada “Dream Team” is taking shape. The coach hasn’t yet been announced, though it’s expected to be Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, the most tenured coach in the NHL.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will lead the team most capable of disrupting MacKinnon’s and Crosby’s plans. Sullivan will coach Team USA in the Four Nation Face-Off and the Olympics.

Canada might have an issue in goal, as the top Canadian goalies aren’t the top goalies in the world. The American and Russian goalie pools are far deeper, but no team since the 1987 Canada Cup, when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were in their prime, could match a line with MacKinnon and Crosby.

The 1987 Team Canada defeated Russia with a dramatic late goal in the deciding game, as Gretzky set up Lemieux for the winner.

And Crosby does have history. “Captain Canada” scored the golden goal that earned Canada a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics held in Vancouver.