Cale Makar stood earlier than his Avalanche locker stall after morning skate Monday within the glow of tv cameras, reporters stacked 4 and 5 rows deep, with sweat glistening from rosy cheeks to debate his NHL debut and the wild sequence of occasions that made it occur.
“I don’t assume it’s totally sunk in for me but,” Makar stated, “and hopefully it doesn’t for a bit bit.”
Makar, 20, will substitute injured defenseman Sam Girard (higher physique) on the Avalanche’s second power-play unit, plus a pairing with Patrik Nemeth at even power, for Recreation Three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs versus Calgary on the Pepsi Middle. Makar’s earlier 96 hours to puck drop Monday night time? A whole whirlwind.
Friday: Received the Hobey Baker Award as faculty hockey’s most excellent participant.
Saturday: Led College of Massachusetts to an NCAA championship recreation look (3-Zero loss to Minnesota Duluth).
Sunday: Signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Avalanche.
“My first dialog with (Makar) was, ‘That’s up to now and now we’ve got to deal with what’s right here,’ ” coach Jared Bednar stated. “I believe he has the power to show the web page fairly shortly. He’s a sensible child with lots of character.”
Makar referred to as the journey “loopy,” a becoming descriptor when including on this enjoyable truth: Makar was raised in Calgary as a diehard Flames fan and was 5 years outdated after they reached the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.
“It’s a bizarre feeling enjoying in opposition to the crew you grew up loving,” Makar stated. “However my allegiance lies with one other crew now.”
Avalanche gamers acquired their first up-close have a look at Makar throughout early skate Monday. Constructing rapid chemistry will fall on all shoulders, particularly fellow defensemen, if Makar is to create a right away impression. He downplayed a troublesome transition: “I don’t assume the velocity or something shall be an excessive amount of of a problem for me.” However Makar will nonetheless take in each ounce of veteran knowledge earlier than puck drop.
“Maintain it easy within the first recreation,” defenseman Erik Johnson stated. “We all know he’s a talented man. He doesn’t have to attempt to present it each shift. Simply play your recreation and have enjoyable.”
Makar, chosen No. four general within the 2017 NHL draft, begins his Avalanche profession with super expectations. His first check comes on hockey’s grandest stage.
“I need to give him some info so he’s on top of things on how we play and what the sequence has regarded like, however I don’t need to give him an excessive amount of that we freeze him up,” Bednar stated. “I need him to go play and use his instincts. That’s what he’s been nice at his entire life. I don’t see tonight as any totally different.”