Cal Makar’s interference penalty raises questions and frustration with the Avalanche

DENVER – Cal McCarr stood at his locker, still sweating from the game, and spoke for about two minutes and 30 seconds without a break. Midway through the third period on Wednesday against Vancouver, with the Avalanche trying to take the lead, the officials called Makar for a tackle. He was furious at this moment, barking at the referee.

“When you don’t really understand what’s going on, from my perspective, how am I supposed to get better?” Makar said.

The situation started when Nathan McKinnon brought the puck onto the ice. Makar slowed down to a near stop at the blue line, wanting to avoid being offside. Dakota Joshua of Vancouver skated backwards, then collided with him, resulting in a penalty. Makar was called out for a tackle in similar situations earlier in the season, and he also provided a similar penalty he took against Vegas in the 2021 playoffs.

During a layover after leaving the penalty area on Wednesday, Makar talked further through the play with an official.

“He said I pulled my ass out,” Makar said. “I had nowhere to go with (teammate JT Compher) there. It’s happened now two or three times this year. It’s tough or rough. Whose ice is that for? That’s the real question. … You’ve got a guy skating backwards in no-man’s-land.” , and if I advance, I go in o-zone to try and sneak in…. I think I can come back, but I’ll probably come up against (Compher) directly.”

During the four-on-four play after the penalty kick, Vancouver’s Ethan Beer scored the game-winning goal.

When asked about the interference call after Colorado lost 4-3, coach Jared Bednar explained his understanding of the rule in that situation.

“I think if you’re skating across the line, putting an intentional pick, and moving to that player’s ice, it should be called a tackle,” said the coach. “I think when you get to the line and stop and occupy the ice, it’s up to the defensive player to move around it.”

Bednar saw that Makar was doing the latter and didn’t like the penalty kick. He said the team would “have to clear it up again” from the league.

“(Makar) is fine. He and Compere were stopped there,” the coach added. “You have to be aware of that as a defender and you have to try to move around him. … It seems so obvious to me, but apparently not to the way things are in the league, because one night it’s called, and the next it’s not.”

Makar said: “Even with (the official’s) explanation, both sides do not understand what we are looking for in terms of what we call it. This is where my head is.”

The star defender, who scored in the second half, said that none of the referees gave him a warning during the match regarding where he stood at the entrances to the strong play area. He added that he understood the difficulty of the situation for the officials, saying he knew it could have looked bad on the officials if Colorado had scored on the play.

He said “it is what it is”. “I just think there has to be a line with what the refs are looking for, and I don’t know if there is now.”

The injuries continue

Forward Ivan Rodriguez suffered a lower body injury in the first period that sidelined him for the rest of the game.

As the avalanche raider soared over the snow in a hurry, J.T. Miller’s right-hand sled appeared to clip his own. he cried, falling onto the ice and skating very carefully on the bench. Immediately head to the dressing room.

Losing Rodriguez for so long would be a blow to the already injury-plagued Colorado club. With Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin out, he was one of the team’s only consistent secondary scoring options with six goals and nine points in 18 games.

“He’ll be evaluated tonight, tomorrow,” Bednar said.

Colorado’s bad outages continued when Mikko Rantanen was hit in the face by Tyler Myers’ stick, giving the Avalanche a four-minute power play. He remained in the room until early in the third period, when he returned to the bench and entered the game again at last. His nose was bloodied and taped after the match.

“I’m sure he won’t feel good tonight or tomorrow,” Bednar said. “Kudos to him for coming back and playing through it.”

Comfer also dealt with a agonizing situation late in the second. He blocked a painful-looking shot and skated gingerly to the bench. He reached the dressing room at the end of the period but returned to the start of the third room.


Artturi Lehkonen now has eight straight points after assisting Rantanen’s first goal, and Makar has scored in three straight games. He ripped a slapper past Spencer Martin to give Colorado the lead late in the second.

2021 first round

Oscar Olsson, named 28th overall in 2021, made his debut with Colorado on Thursday, playing just over seven minutes. He earned his call-up after recording eight points in 16 games with the AHL Colorado Eagles.

Bednar didn’t seem to want to count on him too much in a close game but said “he’s fine”. He was scheduled to play on the second line with Rodriguez and Alex Newhawk, but Rodriguez’s injury forced the coach to mix up the lines.

“The goal was to get these guys to play and get a little bit closer,” Bednar said.

Since he couldn’t due to injuries, Olausson didn’t get many opportunities to show off his skill set. However, with his girlfriend in the stands, he made his debut, becoming only the tenth player from the Class of 2021 to appear in an NHL game.

“He can shoot the puck,” said Avalanche forward Jason Megna, captain of the Colorado Eagles when he was in the AHL. “He’s gotten a lot better off the puck. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve noticed since I first saw him last year. I love where his game is headed.”

(Photo: Cal McCarr after a second-half goal Wednesday night: Jack Dempsey/The Associated Press)

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