Cale Makar 'dirty player' discourse is misguided

The Colorado Avalanche defenseman was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a late hit on Kraken forward Jared McCann during Game 4 of the first-round Stanley Cup series but one 'dirty hit' does not make the 24-year-old a 'dirty player'.

Video Transcript

OMAR: Oh, my gosh.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Any thoughts on Cale Makar and-- I mean, the other thing we-- in the future here, he will have served already his one game suspension. But that was a really weird, uncharacteristic hit of Cale Makar to do. We don't have to call him a dirty player, Sam. Right? Right?

SAM CHANG: Yeah. I-- look, I agree it was a dirty hit. I know there are actually people who say it wasn't a dirty hit. I think it's clear it was late. I get-- I accept his explanation that it-- like, he didn't intend to do that. He was just finishing his check.

But for the people who are like, oh, Cale Makar is a dirty player, like, what are you watching? Look, yes, one dirty hit. But can you point to any other time in this man's career in the NHL where anything like that has happened? Like, I can't think of somebody who's, like, more wholesome than Cale Makar.

And for the people who are like, yeah, one-- you make one dirty hit, you're a dirty player, well, then call every player in the NHL dirty. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I got to say, that's a-- that's a tough label to put on somebody. Just because they did one thing, they're just cast as a bad person forever. I mean, and also people who are gonna be like, hey, well you judge people. I'm like, well, Cale Makar-- one, that hit, bad as it was, I think the punishment fit the crime.

OMAR: Yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: The people out there who think it's as bad as, like, Mark Scheifele destroyed Jake Evans, stop the cap. It's not that bad. It's nowhere near the same stratosphere.

OMAR: Yes.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's not even worse than Matt Dumba and Joe Pavelski. Come on.

OMAR: Nope. Nope.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: It's a bad hit.

AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Yeah. It's a bad hit. Right.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He deserved to be suspended. But, like, come on.

OMAR: I saw people try to compare it to the Bunting hit. I'm like, not even close. Not even in the same category.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Not even close.

OMAR: Not even in the same stratosphere.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Not even close. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And, look, we don't know how wholesome Cale Makar really is. Maybe he does have a mean streak to him. But--

OMAR: We're talking-- but we're talking about a guy who, like, denied a penalty. Right?

SAM CHANG: He is like--


OMAR: Did we all forget-- did we all forget that happened?

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I forgot about that.

OMAR: When I saw it I was like, did we all forget this is the same dude who was-- just like, no, no, like, don't-- don't give him the penalty. It was my fault. Like--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. That's interesting.

OMAR: That's the same person we're calling dirty? Come on.



OMAR: Come on.

SAM CHANG: Yeah. And, like, I should be clear. I don't-- like, when I say he's wholesome I mean, like, his image as a hockey player is wholesome. His play on the ice has been wholesome. Obviously, we don't know him as a person. And I wouldn't-- nothing about this league would surprise me anymore. So that's my take.

OMAR: Yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Do you want to go through his Twitter likes?




AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: But, yeah. We talk about dirty hits in hockey and like-- Cale Makar, like-- and, like, come on. In the past 15 years, dirty players or the guys with dirty hits-- we know Tom Wilson, dirty hits, Matt Cooke--


AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: --Patrick-- Patrick Kaleta. All he did-- he was always-- all he did-- dirty Patrick Kalata. All he did was dirty hits.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Patrick Kaleta.


JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's a name I hadn't heard in a long time.

OMAR: Mm-hmm.

AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Like, those were guys who had dirty hits. Cale Makar with Patrick Kaleta and Matt Cooke-- come on. Be serious. Get real.

SAM CHANG: I saw somebody be like, he's just lucky that, like, he doesn't have Dale Hunter's rap sheet. That was the same as Dale Hunter and Pierre Turgeon. He's not lucky that he doesn't have his rap sheet. He's just not that player. Like, that's a stupid take.

AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: But-- but Dale Hunter, like, that--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Dale Hunter? A Dale Hunter comparison to Cale-- what the hell is going--

AVERY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Dale Hunter has 3,000 penalty minutes. Dale Hunter has 3,000 penalty minutes.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What are we going?



JULIAN MCKENZIE: I know officiating has not been good in the postseason, but we don't need to rack our brains so hard with this. Like, this is-- this is ridiculous. OK?

OMAR: Hockey Twitter has been tough, man. In this first round, like, it's been--


OMAR: It's been wild this year.