Is avalanche defender Cale Makar hockey player Stephen Curry?

Is avalanche defender Cale Makar hockey player Stephen Curry?

DENVER – Along with Cale Makar, directed by Wayne Gretzky, the name is on the air. Gretzky, who is the best in TNT’s hockey program, compared Makari to Bobby Orr, who was better than the transcendental defender Gretzky, who has been suggested by some.

Patrick Roy said Makar could be the best defender in history and that he could pass Orr. Others praised Colorado Avalanche’s 1-0 victory over Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals for the brilliant skating, wand handling and game-building of Alberta-based prodigy Makar. .

Hall of Fame center Phil Esposito has played with Orr for nine seasons in Boston, and it’s hard to believe that everyone can be as good as Orr. Turning the defense into an unprecedented offensive weapon alone, running on the ice, passing the defenders like helpless statues 4.

“The reel is really very good,” said Esposito, now a radio announcer for Lightning Games. “But Bobby was the biggest. I will say this: the child is close. He dictates the game like Bobby did.

This is not to say that Makar is a better player than Orr compared to his time, or that he will have a better career as Orr, who has won eight Norris Cups and two Stanley Cups as the league’s best defender. How many 10 healthy years.

However, for many years in the 1970s or later, Makar excelled in skating and pole vaulting maneuvers that were not considered by Orr and his colleagues.

Orr revolutionized his position and made spin-o-rama movements on the blue line hanging from his jaws. But he never danced and did not carve crescent-shaped ice showers on the blue line. And he didn’t go backwards in a threatening way with a stick, as Makar did. No one did such maneuvers when playing Orr, because they did not have modern skating and training methods. According to Esposito, players in the Orr era worked their bows, while today players skate all year round.

Orr didn’t open his hips, heel heels together, and didn’t confuse defenders, as some skaters do today, especially Sydney Crosby. But very few people do it as easily and tastefully as Makar.

“He is special because he is the fastest of all,” said Yildirim’s intelligent defender Mikhail Sergachev. “He knows how much time and room he has and uses it to his advantage. You think you caught him, but no. He just uses you as bait and screen. He is very, very dangerous. “

Sergachev played five seasons and won two Stanley Cups with Yildirim. He is a student of the game and especially of his position. When he and his teammates see that Makar has a puck on the blue line, he prepares for almost everything.

With a previously unseen frightening lateral movement, Makar can falsify to the left, then to the right, and he can release a defender who can stumble on the ice while skating backwards along a blue line trying to pass or hit both legs. It is a sport reminiscent of a basketball player with more skillful dribbling handles than the hockey players of the past. Watching the reel is like watching hockey player Stephen Curry, and it leads to success.

In the playoffs this season, Makar has scored 5 goals and 17 assists, and his 22 points lead Avalanche, which could end in the team’s first championship since 2001. Standing on the road, Yildirim is looking for the third consecutive Stanley Cup championship, with some of his terrible defenders.

“They are trying to build a dynasty,” Makar said Tuesday. “We’re trying to build a legacy.”

The legacy of the reel is already well established. He is a finalist for Norris Trophy, along with Victor Hedman of Lightning and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, who won Avalanche’s four games in the first round. (Makar has 3 goals and 7 assists in this series.) Makar is only 23 years old and Esposito expects to win at least three or four Norris Cups.

In a typical season, he had 28 goals and 86 points and a second-positive, 48-positive-negative rating among NHL defenders, according to team-mate Devon Tous (whom Makar modestly calls the “driving force”) plus-52. Avalanche protection).

However, Makar’s game is commendable beyond statistics. He becomes one of the most entertaining players to watch, a visionary on the ice who has the skating skills to compete with the best figure skaters and the ability to work with sticks that envy forwards. He forces the defensive wing defenders to move forward to attract him, and then the puck always slides to the side while being loaded on the bar.

“He never looks at the puck when he’s playing,” Sergachev said. “When you look at him on the blue line, that’s the main thing about him. He always handles the puck and looks at the net or other players. That’s how he always finds good games. “

Makar said he has always loved skating and does the exercises needed to skate perfectly on the edges of his blades to create speed and deception. But Makar, who grew up as a Calgary Flames fan in Alberta, took an unusual path to the NHL, no matter how talented, and chose to attend the University of Massachusetts after being called up by Avalanche for a fourth pick. 2017.

Greg Cronin, coach of Colorado Eagles, AHL’s branch in Avalanche, worked as an assistant coach at the Islanders in 2017 and interviewed Makar before the project. He wondered why Makar didn’t go to big young hockey like many new stars. Makar insisted that he committed himself to playing for UMass for two years before becoming a professional.

“Of all the interviews I’ve given over the years, the other one was chosen,” Cronin said. “Honesty and trust were remarkable in his response, and he made it happen.”

Cronin later joined the Avalanche organization and although he never trained Makar, he was on the ice with him during the training camp and said that Makar could be the best skater he has ever seen.

“I call it joystick hockey,” Kronin said. “It’s as if someone is controlling it from above, hitting it up, back and then to the side. He will go half a step forward to bite you and then jump to the side. Defender is over. “

UMass has now become a contender for the title by winning the Frozen Four in 2021, but has not been considered at the top of college hockey trends such as the University of Minnesota, Wisconsin or Boston University. Makar started it.

In a landmark four-day period in April 2019, Makar won the Hobey Baker Award as the best collegial player, played (and lost) in a national title game, signed with Avalanche, and then scored in his NHL debut – no less than Calgary.

Minutemen coach Greg Carvel said, “He helps us get hired every night he plays.” “This is his legacy, perhaps the best player in the world played in this program. Kids want to play where Cale plays.

Carvel said Makar came to Amherst with an unparalleled skating ability, but said Makar was smart enough to understand that he needed more college time to develop strength and endurance on the ice before entering the NHL. , but he was limited by how often he could place it.

“I just remember going down to the end of the bench and saying, ‘Take Cale there more,'” Carvel recalled. “It simply came to our notice then. It was a sign that he was not ready. “

Again, Avalanche general manager and former team star Joe Sakic called Carvel after Makar’s first year at UMass and told the coach that Avalanche intended to offer Makar a contract to join the team immediately. But Makar stayed because he knew he needed to get stronger.

The scariest thing for the rest of the NHL is that Makar continues to grow. Carvel said some of his brightest moves on the blue line are now unseen in college, and he said Makar’s skating and defense game – and his extraordinary shooting ability – have been developed in the NHL and more will come.

“I have always worked in hockey; “I’ve coached in the NHL,” Carvel said. “There are very few people who will pay me to watch hockey. Maybe five. Obviously, he’s one of them. It’s pure fun.”

Orr was like that. Fans couldn’t take their eyes off him as he rolled the puck behind his net, speeding through the ice, grooming defenders, or attacking scary goalkeepers by rotating 360 degrees on the blue line.

“Bobby was Bobby,” Esposito said. “Let this child have his own career. But it’s a lot of fun to watch. “

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