Canadian ice hockey defenceman Cale Makar is enjoying his NHL season as of now. As key Avalanche players are missing from the team due to injury, the 24-year-old defenceman has taken on the responsibility to keep the team afloat, winning as many games as they can.
The Avalanchers are currently depending on the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Norris Trophy winner to be their marathon man on the ice. Even his teammates know, playing for 30 minutes on ice, especially for Makar is too much. Makar reached his hockey career peak after winning the Stanley Cup this year.
On Thursday night, he skated for 33 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes in the 3-2 win. It was the 2nd highest total ice time of his NHL career, the most he played in 193 regular-season games. On Saturday the team is going to welcome the Washington Capitals. Makar’s regular season career-high was 31:49 in January 2022.
Coach Jared Bednar said, “He plays in all situations — it’s something we want him to do, something he wants to do”. “It’s more letting the game come to him in certain areas and picking his spots, making sure he’s not using energy if there’s nothing on the rush attack offensively.”
Teammates praise Cale Makar for shouldering the load
Bednar further added, “He’s still part of all of our breakouts, all of our rush attacks. He just uses his intelligence to select which opportunities are going to be the best.” Colorado is missing out on the blue line with Samuel Girard and Bowen Byram out with injuries.
His 33 minutes of ice time was the most by an Avalancher in nearly 20 years. As in the ongoing season, Cale Makar is off to a good start with 18 points in 15 games. Nathan MacKinnon commented, “He takes care of himself”. “His mentality is very even-keeled when he plays.”
“He doesn’t get too emotional. I think that helps with his longevity on the ice. He’s obviously one of the best players in the game, the best defenseman in the game, so it’s nice that we can rely on him to play that many minutes.”
Bednar also doesn’t want Makar pushing himself too much in the NHL season, as they need his plays and health for the upcoming Stanley run. Being the Champions this year, they have a burden to carry the streak forward. Though, saying that, Makar’s play is necessary for both aspects.
What needs to be done is to conserve as much energy as possible, pulling it to the Championship series, “The goal is to go out and win the hockey game, so sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do”.
“Obviously we don’t want to be playing him 33 minutes every night, but I think if you look at him from the start of his career, how tired or how much energy he had to use in even, say, 22 minutes and now he’s built it to (the point where) 26 is a pretty easy night for him.”
Makar is also enjoying the game and trying his best while making a difference at a time and pushing forth. He stated, “It’s just finding that groove, making sure that I can be a reliable player for my team every single game is just what I’m going to try to focus on.”