NHL

Colorado Avalanche Cale Makar fastest defenseman to 200 points

Colorado Avalanche Cale Makar fastest defenseman to 200 points

Cale Makar

Hello Cale!
image: Getty Images

There’s an old axiom in hockey that any young defenseman needs 200 games in the NHL to make his mark. Unlike most sports theories, which tend to be old horse crap that everyone just goes along with out of terror to always rock the boat in some way, it holds some water. It’s a tough job and it takes time to adjust to the speed of the NHL coming at you instead of adjusting to it like forwards do. Keeping the gaps right, moving the puck or moving yourself under pressure from men with jobs instead of directionless kids, and finding passing and shooting windows that close in a heartbeat just takes a while to pick up – yes

Unless you’re Cale Makar.

Makar last night became the first D-man in NHL history – that’s about 105 years – to score 200 points in fewer than his first 200 games (195 for those keeping count). Bobby Orr didn’t. Paul Coffey didn’t when every goaltender was a hungover gnome. Ray Bourque did not. Makar has hit the ground running, or skating as it were, faster and better than almost anyone in the history of the game.

Of course, coaching at junior and senior level is certainly better than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Makar was probably introduced to various training methods, weights, nutrition and the like much faster than any of the names he will one day walk into the Hockey Hall of Fame with. Bourque, Orr and Coffey’s training methods probably involved taking the barrel back to the trainer’s house. On the other hand, the NHL game has never been faster. It should be even harder for a teenager to break into the league and be effective, much less thrive, much less dominate.

However, the game accelerates with Makar on the ice. Each team is looking for their own Makar now, a D-man who is a one-man, trap-buster. The one that links the attack to the defensive zone in an instant. It has simply changed the game.

Or someone who can do it this whenever you want

It’s a rare player who you know is in the greats from the moment he starts. You may know, or strongly suspect, that a rookie or second-year player could become a legend if things go well. Expect the dips, the learning curves, as much as you expect this player to overcome them and then break out. “When you put it all together.”

But there are some that are fully assembled as soon as they arrive, and Makar is one of the few. He showed up midway through the 2019 playoffs and immediately looked like the best player on the ice. Makar began weaving in and out of traffic in the three zone, opening up lanes in the offensive zone with his invisible agility and creating chaos around the net with a push that always seems to reach the crease no matter how tight the window to pull through There was no doubt that it was something really different.

Makar’s metrics are down a bit this season, though still bright, as the Avs have had to use him more in the defensive zone than before. The percentage of his turnovers that start in the offensive zone so far this season is down seven percent, and his defensive zone turnovers are the same. It hasn’t really stopped him from getting around the ice.


Bellingham Palace

Makar wasn’t the only alien that showed up yesterday to get something on the fields where people were playing yesterday. England’s Jude Bellingham became only the second teenager to score for England at a World Cup, and when he wasn’t scoring, he was simply dominating the game from all sides. Midfield is supposed to be as difficult to learn as defense in hockey, and it has more facets. And yet Bellingham has already mastered them all at just 19 years old. He can shield a defense, he can pass from the back to throw forwards, he can be the late man in the box to score, you name it. And he did it all against Iran.

A goal for you.

Or maybe you need him to release a perfect ball down the stretch to set it up England’s last goal.

Bellingham’s price is seemingly increasing every week, and turning over opponents in the World Cup will only accelerate that process. He was so good at jump street that his first club, Birmingham City, retired his number at the age of 17, when he left for Dortmund.

It’s rare for historical greatness to slap you in the face the first time you see it, but yesterday was one of those days you just can’t miss it.


devil

Let’s wrap things up with Tomas Tatar’s goal to seal the New Jersey Devils’ 13th straight win:

It’s not often in hockey that a player can test Ichiro, breaking the puck over the goalie with the puck in the air. Tatar even shortened as if there were two strikes. Except he did it on roller skates.





#Colorado #Avalanche #Cale #Makar #fastest #defenseman #points

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