Before the team flight to Seattle, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar spoke to the media for the first time since his one-game suspension was announced. Obviously, Makar was absent during Game Five on Wednesday night. That wasn’t easy on him.
“It’s just painful,” Makar said of missing the game. “I feel like I grinded my teeth down like two inches last night.”
As he was directly after Game Four, Makar was remorseful for what happened and reiterated a lot of what he said, especially since he’s had to deal with head injuries himself this season.
“It’s tough,” Makar said of the suspension. “Such a weird one. Obviously, I’m never going out on the ice to hurt anyone. I mean, for me, I’ve been in that scenario this year multiple times, obviously, with a direct head hit. It’s unfortunate that was the result. I hope he’s okay. Overall, I think probably the first call in history that went from no call, to a major, to a minor, to a suspension. It’s a little bit of an odd one.”
Makar said he tried to get an explanation on the thought process from the refs on the ice about the original call, and also what they saw on the review to change it to a minor penalty, but he never got much from them.
The focus for Makar now turns to Game Six, as the Avalanche are in a do-or-die scenario for the first time in a few years. Jared Bednar has shown he’s not afraid to play his big guns a lot if necessary. Makar is ready for that.
“Yeah, I gotta be ready,” Makar said. “Obviously, I missed a game, so hopefully I’m fresh and can get the fresh legs going.”
Adversity is nothing new for this Avalanche team. All season long they’ve dealt with injury after injury, so they should be ready for anything. That’s part of what has made this series so difficult for Jared Bednar.
“I think the adversity for this team has been relentless this year,” Bednar said. “I can’t remember, in all the years that I’ve played and then coached, where it just keeps coming and coming and coming. But that’s why I’m so proud of this team and what they did during the regular season. That’s why I’m so frustrated now because I feel like, regardless of the outcome of this series, I want us to put our best foot forward. Keep grinding, because we’ve done it all year. I want our team to be proud of the way we played and what we’ve gone through, regardless of where we finish or exit or have success.”
One thing Colorado has not had success doing in the last two games is creating offense. In the last 100 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, the Avalanche have only been credited with 12 high-danger scoring chances. Scoring chances have been tough to come by, and Bednar knows why.
“We’re not getting into the offensive zone play enough,” he said. “Getting numbers on the forecheck, putting pucks in areas where we can get it back. Staying disciplined with our puck play, if they’re shutting down a rush that we’re not making a home play. Again, you’ve got to play the odds. If we have to lay it in some place and go win an entry battle in order to play offensive zone play, then we’ve got to do it.”
Other News and Notes
- We saw Josh Manson arrive to fly to Seattle with the team, but Bednar did not have an update on his status for Game Six.
- Coaches sometimes like to play mind games and say the pressure is on the opposing team. Not Bednar. He says all the pressure is on the Avalanche. “I mean, come on, they’re a second year team, they got in the playoffs, they’ve got a good team. They’re playing loose, they’re confident. Obviously, the guys in their room, are like ‘well yeah, we want to win,’ but expectations are on our team. But that’s nothing new to our group, either.”