Veterans taking in hotshot rookies is nothing new in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby famously lived with Mario Lemieux during The Kid’s early days in Pittsburgh, Nicklas Backstrom boarded with Michael Nylander in Washington, before returning to the favour to young Andre Burakovsky when the Swede was breaking into the NHL with the Capitals.
Now it’s Ottawa Senators rookie Brady Tkachuk’s turn to get out of the suite life and into a teammate’s basement, that teammate being Mark Stone.
Stone, just 26 himself, spoke to the Ottawa Sun about having Tkachuk around.
“It’s great that he’s able to get out of the hotel. My girlfriend loves him. He’s very young and immature, so it’s nice to have those personalities around.”
Tkachuk was held out of Ottawa’s season opener against Chicago on Thursday (a 4-3 overtime loss), and is doubtful to make his NHL debut on Saturday in Toronto. The 19-year-old is nursing a groin injury.
But when the Scottsdale, Ariz., native does hit the ice, he could do worse than looking up to his current roommate.
Stone is one of the NHL’s premier two-way wingers, someone a No. 4-overall pick like Tkachuk could model his game after.
And in return, Tkachuk can give Stone a little reminder of what it’s like to break into the NHL again. Along with lessons in Fortnite, which is all the rage among the kids these days.
“I haven’t played a video game in four years and now I’m addicted to video games again. It’s bringing me back to when I was playing in the minors. For him, he’s excited, and he hasn’t had a bad day yet in the NHL so it’s nice to have guys who are excited to come to the rink.
“It’s nice to have a little excitement in our house.”