Colorado Avalanche super-stud rookie Cale Makar earns Calder Trophy while teammate Nathan MacKinnon is robbed.
The Colorado Avalanche watched the NHL Awards show from home like the rest of the world. In deference to the ongoing pandemic, the NHL aired their virtual awards show from Edmonton. Some Edmonton greats, including Wayne Gretzky, were on hand –or on Zoom — to present the awards. I’ve got to think that influenced the awarding.
Two Colorado Avalanche players were finalists for three of the final five awards. Cale Makar was a finalist for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year. Nathan MacKinnon was a finalist for both the Hart Trophy, the team MVP award, and the Ted Lindsay Award, granted my the Players’ Association to an exceptional player.
I’m not objective, but I firmly believe both players were shoe-ins for all three awards. I guess I could see the Lindsay Award going to just anybody because it comes from players and whom they adjudge to be the biggest pain to play against. However, the other two awards are supposed to be less subjective.
I believe the Calder was. Cale Makar “walked away” with that trophy. In reality, he sat in his Calgary home while the Great One, awarded him the rookie of the year trophy. Here’s the Zoom call:
He says getting awarded the Calder by a man of Gretzky’s stature was “surreal.” And yet, in typical Cale fashion, he was completely composed.
Makar earned the award because of a stellar rookie season. As a defenseman, he recorded 12 goals and 38 assists for 50 points. He also played good defense — he didn’t let that aspect of play go out of his game just because he’s a scorer. What’s also impressive is the fact that his defensive partner, Ryan Graves, was only three games removed from being a rookie himself.
Makar’s major competition for the award was a fellow defenseman, Quinn Hughes. Hughes managed three more points than Makar, but it took him and additional 11 games to achieve them. He also had four fewer goals than Makar.
No shade to Hughes — he’s an amazing player, and it will be fun to see his career satellite around Makar’s. But Cale was just that much better of a player. (I doubt Vancouver fans would agree — you don’t have to go too far into the replies to see them claiming Hughes was robbed.)
I don’t know if that was true, but I absolutely believe and will state to my dying day that MacKinnon was robbed — again! — of the Hart Trophy. The NHL awarded it to Leon Draisaitl.
Draisaitl had 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) this season. That’s more than Nathan MacKinnon, I acknowledge. It’s more than anyone else in the NHL. That’s why he won the Art Ross Trophy this season.
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That’s not how you’re supposed to win the Hart. It’s supposed to go to the player who’s most valuable to his team. Yes, 110 points is valuable to your team. However, it doesn’t make you the team’s MVP by default.
Especially when you skate on a line with the second coming of The Great One, a young man so revered he’s known as McJesus — Connor MacDavid. That hallowed player himself earned as many points as Nathan MacKinnon.
The takeaway there is that, if Draisaitl hadn’t been playing on the Oilers, they still would have been all right. McJesus and his 97 points would have saved the day. After all, that’s how many points MacKinnon earned to lead the team to success.
That’s the literal definition of MVP. And yet, the loophole that robbed MacKinnon of the award two years ago — having a stellar linemate — didn’t discount Draisaitl this season.
That’s pure hypocrisy.
I’ll take MacKinnon over Draisaitl every day of the week and twice on Avs game days. He doesn’t need McJesus feeding him to lead the team.
In any case, Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon were further awarded. Makar made the All Rookie team while MacKinnon made the First All Star Team. Likewise, the Avalanche have put the world on notice — you’re not going to be able to ignore them for much longer.