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TAMPA, Florida – Wearing a gray suit and sitting between her parents and General Manager Joe Sakic at the NHL Awards ceremony, Cale Makar did all the right things. He sipped water, clapped his hands at the right moment, and laughed at host Kenan Thompson’s jokes. He never showed too many emotions: he is humble in the beginning and, with Avalanche playing against the Lightning for the Stanley Cup, he had bigger goals in mind than an individual honor. He made it clear when he accepted the Norris Trophy, awarded each year to the best defender in the league. His attention wasn’t drifting away from his bigger goal.
“We have some important things to do tomorrow,” he said on the eve of Race 4, thanking his teammates in his speech.
Makar’s victory leads to 20 observations, one for each Nathan MacKinnon point this post-season, ahead of Wednesday’s Avalanche-Lightning race:
2. Here’s how Makar’s mom Laura described her emotions shortly after seeing her son win the Norris: “Huge pride and gratitude to everyone who helped him every step of the way. And all the players. He couldn’t do it alone. “
3. Makar is the first player in franchise history to win the Norris, but former Avalanche defender Ray Bourque has won five times with the Bruins and finished second in his only full season with Colorado. The Hall of Famer called Tampa Bay’s Makar and Victor Hedman “the two best” defenders in the league.
“Hedman has been there for a while now and he has made his mark,” he said before the Stanley Cup. “Cale is going to make his mark. I think he will race with the Norris Trophy: once he wins it once, he will keep that thing for a while.
From a family chicken soup recipe to the Norris Trophy winner.@Peter_Baugh has more about the rise of Cale Makar: https://t.co/Sn7tZIz81s https://t.co/vBJxBEzhGk
– The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) June 22, 2022
4. Here is Paul Coffey, three-time winner of Norris, a Atletico ‘s Joe Smith: “Makar has it all, he does it all, he has incredible IQ, he thinks about the game, he knows the game, he knows who he is playing against. I just think he’s one of those guys who knows where everyone is on the ice at all times. “
5. Avalanche owners Stan and Josh Kroenke were both in Tampa for the awards ceremony. They sat down at a table with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and everyone cheered when Makar was announced as the winner.
Gary Bettman and the Kroenkes congratulate Cale Makar. pic.twitter.com/4540Y8IxxD
– Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 22, 2022
6. Flames Deputy CEO Chris Snow, who is battling ALS, introduced the Norris with his family. Prior to the event, Makar chatted with Snow’s two children. Here is a photo of Chris’s wife, Kelsie:
Just three guys from Calgary… ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UoncJLzzBd
– Kelsie Snow (@kelsieswrites) June 22, 2022
7. Thompson, known for his long run on “Saturday Night Live,” had multiple jokes that elicited laughter, the best of which was reminding audiences that even though hockey players were in attendance, there would be “no brawl.” These are the NHL Awards, not the Oscars. “
8. Makar barely won the Norris. He finished with 1,631 points, compared to 1,606 for Roman Josi of Nashville. Josi actually got the most votes in first place (98 to 92), but Makar had the big lead in second place (98-76). Boston’s Hedman and Charlie McAvoy also received votes for first and second place.
An incredibly tight race. Roman Josi closes with more votes for first place, but Cale Makar wins his first Norris Trophy in his career. https://t.co/ERqlKLQjmI
– Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 21, 2022
Makar made sure to acknowledge both Josi and Hedman, who finished second and third respectively, in his acceptance speech.
“Guys, you pushed me a lot along the way,” he said.
9. Trevor Zegras, leading the Calder, was the best dressed participant. He wore a green patterned suit and elegant brown shoes.
– Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) June 21, 2022
10. Josi wanted to wish Sakic good luck before leaving the ceremony.
11. Lost in Makar’s hype: Devon Toews finished with his second consecutive top 11 spot in the Norris Trophy. He was 11th in 2021 and eighth this season.
12. Other notes on the Avalanche awards:
• Defender Bowen Byram received an All-Rookie team vote. He almost certainly he would have finished higher if he had been healthier for the entire season.
• Sakic is one of three GM finalists of the year, to be announced at a later date.
• Makar was the first All-Star team.
• MacKinnon scored the sixth most votes of any center on the All-Star ballots. Mikko Rantanen had the third highest rated score of any right winger, so he missed the second All-Star team by one place. Darcy Kuemper was seventh in the All-Star goalkeeper vote and Toews was eighth for defenders.
• Makar finished eighth in the Hart Trophy vote and finished second in one vote. Josi, curiously, finished higher despite the fact that he finished second in the Norris ballot. He was sixth.
13. Here is my ballot for the awards:
In honor of transparency, here is my award vote. pic.twitter.com/uiqrifGsjw
– Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 22, 2022
14. Colorado lost Game 3 for many reasons and Valeri Nichuhshkin’s overturned goal probably wasn’t the main one. But the amount of time Tampa Bay had to decide whether or not to challenge bednar and some players, including MacKinnon, who assisted the would-be goal, annoyed.
“They were about to drop the record and everyone started screaming again,” he said. “I don’t know the rule and how long they’ve had to watch it, but I don’t think it’s three minutes. … I think the referee should let it go. I don’t know what they are waiting for. They had their chance. “
Bednar added: “I don’t know what else to tell you. It was probably three times the length we normally get.
15. That frustration doesn’t mean that Colorado didn’t take responsibility for the loss.
“I thought we did some good things tonight,” Bednar said. “It wasn’t consistent enough. (There were) the execution and some of the turnovers. … They quickly executed our mistakes. “
16. Jared Bednar made no suggestions regarding his starting goalkeeper for Game 4. Asked if he would return to Darcy Kuemper after shooting him in Game 3, Bednar replied: “This is a possibility.”
17. Nazem Kadri skated with the group at the team’s optional skate on Tuesday, and Bednar looks encouraged by his progress.
“It seems to be getting better every day,” Bednar said. “I think at some point it’s an option for us. Not sure how soon.
Due to his participation in training, it looks like he could also be an option for Race 4. He’s not shooting as hard as usual yet, but he seems to be getting closer and closer to ready. Striker Nicolas Aube-Kubel recorded less than seven minutes of play in Game 3. If Kadri can play more at a level close to his normal abilities, it will be a viable option for Bednar.
Bednar hasn’t had such a positive update on Andre Burakovsky. The outsider has not yet traveled to Tampa Bay and is receiving treatment. Bednar said, however, that he will soon be back in skating.
“I think if he doesn’t skate today, he skates tomorrow,” Bednar said on Tuesday.
18. Slot. Slot. Slot, slot, slot, slot. Are the lyrics of the LMFAO correct? Regardless, the slot will have to be Colorado’s centerpiece in game 4. As written in the aftermath of game 3, lightning dominated the slot possibilities, especially in the early part of the game. Here’s what the final heat map looked like:
Heat map of last game’s shooting attempts. pic.twitter.com/rZw9eEsucS
– Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) June 21, 2022
“I think a lot of it is our puck touches, we clean it up, trying to get out of our zone a little bit cleaner,” said Jack Johnson. “Give him credit. They played well (Monday). it was definitely their night. There were a lot of things we can clean up at our end and we will eliminate some of those scoring chances against ”.
19. MacKinnon was Avalanche’s first player on the ice for an optional skate on Tuesday. He has taken a variety of types of blows, including backhoes from the hoop and normal wrist blows. He and JT Compher also rotated a drill where one player held the stick as a defender on the ice and the other player attempted to overtake him.
MacKinnon is still looking for his first goal of the series. He was a quality director, though, and Bednar doesn’t believe he’s pressing.
“Everyone will look at the statistics and only the statistics of goals, assists and points,” said the manager. “But there’s more to the game for me. It’s a group of five on the ice and I think that line did a great job throughout the series. … They are playing really well.
“I like the look,” MacKinnon said. “Obviously I have to find the back of the net. It’s my job.”
20. Mikhail Maltsev is now in the main group. He previously wore the number 11, but Andrew Cogliano took the number after the exchange expired. Maltsev now appears to be number 98 with Avalanche.
(Top photo: Geoff Burke / USA Today)