Is avalanche defender Kele Makari a hockey player?

Denver – The name floats on the air, right now, next to Kale McCarthy, who was installed there by Wayne Gretzky. On the TNT hockey program, Gretzky, arguably the best who has ever played this game, compared Macarius Bobby to two, a transcendent defender who some argue was even better than Gretzky.

Patrick Roy said Macari could become the best defender in history, suggesting he might be better than two. Others praised him, praising Makari for his brilliant skating, stick play, and play. .

Phil Esposito, the center of the Hall of Fame, has played side by side for nine seasons in Boston and finds it hard to believe anyone can be as good as two, big number 4, who have unilaterally turned defense into a previously invisible weapon. Insult, ice acceleration, defenders as if they were helpless statues.

“Makari is really, really good,” said Esposito, now a Lightning Games broadcaster. But Bobby was the biggest. I will say this: the child is near. He dictates the game as Bobby did. “

None of this means that Macari is still a better player than he was in his era than he was two, or that he will have a better career than the two who have won eight Norris Cups as the league’s best defender and two Stanley Cups. Which amounted to 10 healthy years.

But Macari is known for his gliding and stick-carrying maneuvers that the two and his colleagues did not even think of in the 1970s or many years later.

The two revolutionized their position and made spin-o-rama moves along the blue line that hung their jaws. But he never danced and did not handle a crescent-shaped ice shower near the blue line. And he did not cross the line threatening with a back stick, as Macari does. No one did such maneuvers when the two were playing, in part because they lacked modern skating and training methods. As Esposito noted, players from the Orr era worked in the summer, while today players skate all year round.

The two did not open their thighs, their heels ached and irritated the defenders in the way some skaters today, especially Sidney Crosby can. But few do it as easily and with pleasure as Macarius.

“He is special because he is faster than anyone else,” said Mikhail Sergachov, Elvis’ shrewd bodyguard. “He knows how much time and space he has and he uses it to his advantage. You think you have it, but you do not. He only uses you as bait and screen. He is very, very dangerous. “

Sergachev played five seasons and won two Stanley Cups with Lightning. He is a student of the game and especially of his own position. When he sees that Makar has surpassed the blue line, he and his teammates are ready for almost anything.

With a startling lateral motion that has not been seen before, Makari can turn left and then right, leaving a guard who stumbles on the ice as he slides back along a blue line to pass or shoot any of the legs. This is a move that is almost more reminiscent of a basketball defender who has a handy dribbling handle than the hockey players of the past. Watching Macari’s is like watching Hockey Stephen Door and leads to success.

In the playoffs this season, Makar has 5 goals and 17 assists and his 22 points lead the avalanche, which could end in the team’s first championship since 2001. With some amazing guards.

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

Makari’s legacy is already well built. He is the Norris trophy finalist along with Victor Hedman from Lightning and Roman Josi from the Neshville Predators, who won the Avalanche in four games in the first round. (Makar has had 3 goals and 7 assists in this series.) Makar is only 23 years old and Esposito thinks he will win at least three or four Norris Cups.

In the regular season, he had 28 goals and 86 points and a plus-minus rating of positive -48, second only to NHL defenders, plus-52 for his teammate Devon Tose (whom Macari humbly calls the “driving force” of avalanche defense).

But Macari’s game is noticeable beyond statistics. He develops into one of the funniest players with his ice skating skills, competing with the best figure skaters and stick management skills that envy the forwards. He attracts the guard wingers to go forward to connect him, and then slides sideways, always with a bush loaded on a stick.

“He never looks at the bouquet when he handles it,” Sergachev said. “This is the main thing when you look at the blue line. He always handles the pack and watches the net or other players. That’s how he always finds good plays. “

Makar said he has always loved skating and doing the exercises necessary to perfect skating on the edges of his blades, to generate speed and deception. But as talented as he was in Alberta as a Calgary Flames fan, McCarthy took an unusual route to the NHL, choosing to attend the University of Massachusetts after being drafted by Avalanche in the fourth round overall in 2017.

Greg Cronin, Colorado Eagles coach at Avalanche’s AHL branch, worked as a coaching assistant with the Islanders in 2017 and interviewed Macar before the draft. He wondered why Macari was not going to play big junior hockey like so many new stars. Macari claimed he made a commitment to play at UMass for two years before becoming a professional.

“Of all the interviews I did during those years, he stood out,” Kronin said. “His honesty and conviction in his response was astounding and he made it a reality.”

Cronin later joined the avalanche organization and although he had never coached Makar, he was with him at a training camp and said Makar could be the best skater he has ever seen.

“I call it joystick hockey,” Cronin said. “It’s as if someone is controlling him from above, lifting him up, back and then hitting him from the side. He will go half a step forward to bite, and then throw himself to the side. The guard is over. “

UMass has now become a title contender to win the Frozen Four in 2021, but it was not considered in the top tier of college hockey disciplines such as Minnesota, Wisconsin or Boston University. Makar worked.

During a remarkable four-day period in April 2019, McCarthy won the Hobey Baker Award for Best Team Player, played (and lost) in a national title game, signed a contract with Avalanche, and then scored in an NHL debut against Calgary. Less.

“He helps us recruit every night when he plays,” said Greg Carwell, Minutemen’s coach. “It’s his legacy that maybe the best player in the world has played in this program. The kids want to play where Kale played.

Carwell said Macari arrived in Amherst with his unique skating skills already on the ground, but noted that Macari was savvy enough to understand that he needed more college time and strength before entering the NHL. , But he was limited in how often he could deploy it.

“I remember I got on a chair and I said, ‘Get Kele out there again,'” Caravel recalls.

Still, Joe Sakich, Avalanche general manager and former star of the team, called Caravel at Makar’s first year after UMass and told the coach that Avalanche was going to sign Makar to the team immediately. But Macari stayed because he knew he needed reinforcement.

The scariest thing about the rest of the NHL is that Macarius continues to improve. Carwell said some of the most tedious moves he now makes on the blue line did not stand out in college, and he said Macari’s sliding and defensive play – and his weird shooting skills – developed in the NHL, and more.

“I work in hockey forever; “I train in the NHL,” Carvel said. “There are very few people to whom I would pay money to watch a hockey game. Maybe five people. He is obviously one of them. It is pure entertainment. ”

Both were like that. Fans could not take their eyes off him as he collected the tot behind his own net, caught the defenders at ice speed, or spun 360 degrees on the blue line and attacked the frightened goalkeeper.

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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.