EDMONTON, ALBERTA – On the Cale Makar reading list right now is a book called “You Are Awesome.” No, it’s not an autobiography.
The subtitle of the book, written by Neil Pasricha, is “How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure and Live an Intentional Life.”
In the last month, Makar has navigated change, all right, living in sequester with Avalanche teammates in a hotel in Edmonton. He has wrestled with some failure, having mishandled a couple of pucks at the end of Game 3 against the Arizona Coyotes that led to two empty-net Coyotes goals and leaving Makar gassed and frustrated on the ice. And, living an intentional life?
Well, Makar has always done that, and right now he is a hero for the Avs again after a highlight-reel goal in a big Game 4 victory and a likely Calder Trophy coming his way at the end of the season.
Makar’s goal, a multi-deke, backhand cheese shot past Antti Raanta off the rush, still has the hockey world talking. Makar made it look all the cooler by not having any celly at all, as if he’d been there and done that before.
Here it is again:
This goal by @Cmakar16 of the @Avalanche is special no doubt. A goal that most athletes would have an excessive celebration following. But with the score now 5-1, Makar a high character kid, shows humility and "acts like he's been there". So impressed! @BrooksBandits @UMassHockey pic.twitter.com/2cYtXo6pd9
— Pyramid Hockey (@johnbecanic) August 18, 2020
Makar has six points in the seven Avs postseason games, with two goals. The Avs currently have a 59.73 Corsi at even strength (that means they’re possessing the puck nearly 60-percent of the time) and Makar’s numbers are even better – 66.06, according to Natual Stat Trick. He’s been on the ice for 70 scoring chances for, and 34 against.
He’s played 108 minutes total in the seven games, after playing 150 minutes in 10 playoff games last season. Of course, those were his first 10 games ever as a pro, after signing with the Avs right after his season was done at the University of Massachusetts.
Makar on Tuesday said that it’s been a “completely different” scenario for him in the playoffs this year, and not just because of the Edmonton Bubble Hockey atmosphere. It’s because he knew what to expect this time, as opposed to just being thrown right into the deep end of the NHL pool after two years in college.
“You know that everyone amps their game up another level in the playoffs,” Makar said.
Maka’s play has been no exception
- The other book Makar is reading these days? The Nick Lidstrom biography “The Pursuit of Perfection.”
- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said that winger Andre Burakovsky, who limped off the ice in the second period of Game 4 after blocking a shot, should be “good to go” for Game 5, but that more will be known tomorrow.
- The Avs had a really fun off-day on Sunday, going to a football field at nearby University of Alberta and tossing some pigskins around and kicking some soccer balls. It was the first time the Avs had been able to go out as a team and run around and get some fresh air. The team does have a spacious outdoor “leisure deck” at the JW Marriott hotel, but that’s mostly for laying in the sun and/or hangin’ out on patio furniture.
- When asked what it’s been like for he and his team to bump into players/coaches from opposing teams at the hotel in the bubble, Bednar said “Awkward.” But he said that hockey players have a “unique ability” to separate the personal from the professional off the ice.
- Vladislav Namestnikov continues to be termed “day-to-day” by Bednar. He may have a tough time getting back in the lineup now though, given how well Tyson Jost has been playing.
- Bednar paired Erik Johnson with Nikita Zadorov for much of Game 4, and said he’s likely to do that again for Game 5. Johnson and his usual partner, Sam Girard, “spent a little too much time in their own zone” in Game 3, Bednar felt. Girard is now paired with Ian Cole.