I know what a lot of you are thinking. Well, some of you anyway. “Shut up Dater, don’t proclaim Cale Makar the Calder Trophy winner, when we don’t know you. You just jinxed it.”
I do have a long and illustrious career as a jinxer, a cooler, the modern-day male equivalent of Medusa, the snake-haired lady in Greek mythology whose eyes, if you looked into them, would turn you to stone. And let me be the first to say: If Cale Makar doesn’t win the Calder Trophy, this post will be deleted so fast it would make Medusa’s head spin (which supposedly it could do anyway).
Here’s a story: A few years ago, I think when we were in St. Louis at a hotel casino, Avalanche TV guy Marc Moser (then the radio guy) was on a roll at the blackjack table when I swung by to say hello. He was like a pig in slop, ecstatic over his winnings. I said, “OK then, well I better take off, because I’m a real cooler. Hope the winning continues.”
Moser laughed and said something like “No such thing as jinxes, stick around.” OK, I said, but I warned you.
He then proceeded to lose like eight hands in a row, all with me standing there watching. He shot me a dirty look and said, “OK, get out of here.”
But listen, I’m gonna say it anyway: I think Cale Makar is highly likely to win the Calder. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association had to turn in their ballots yesterday for voting on the major trophies we get to vote on (Hart, Norris, Selke, Calder, Lady Byng). We do not vote on the Vezina or the Jack Adams Award.
Yes, I had a vote, and while I’m not gonna give it away as to who I voted for, I think this recent story might tip my hand a little.
Why do I think Makar will win the Calder for NHL rookie of the year? Well, because I’ve asked several other voters who they picked, and every single one of them chose Makar too, over Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes. Pierre LeBrun of TSN also polled some top hockey people about who they’d pick – Makar or Hughes – and Makar was the choice in 10 of the 11 people polled.
I still think the voting might be close. Hughes has some good support, especially, it seems, from media north of the border. But I think Makar’s got this.
If he wins, he’ll join Chris Drury, Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon as players from the Avs to have done so. Not bad for a team that’s been around for only 25 years. Peter Forsberg won the Calder in 1994, but he was a Nordique then.
Some Tuesday links on this, the sixteenth of June in the year of our Lord, 2020:
- Canada will close its border another 30 days, until July 21, because of the virus. But, contrary to assumption (including mine), that doesn’t appear to be a death knell for Canadian cities hoping to become a hub for the playoffs, as the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran explains (Toronto Star)
- Jason Botterill was fired today as GM of the Sabres. Columnist Mike Harrington said the move was long overdue (Buffalo News)
- Newspapers are having a hard enough time these days. Getting major stuff wrong, and having to apologize to an NHL team owner about it, doesn’t help (Hockey News)
- Bettman did a visit with ESPN last night, and said virus protocol will be very strict in the playoffs (NHL.com)
- Gabe Landeskog supposedly will do a Zoom call with us local media today. I’ll obviously do something on that here if it happens.