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Cale Makar making himself a Hart candidate in special season

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Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is putting up offensive numbers that put him on pace to break the 40-goal mark, rare territory for a blueliner, putting him contention for the Hart trophy on top of an almost locked-in Norris award.

Video Transcript

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Let's talk about your boy, Cale Makar, first, though. Because dude's having himself an electric NHL season. He scored himself some pretty sweet goals.

OMAR: Not real.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He's --

OMAR: Not real. He's not a human being.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He -- Kirby Dach still doesn't know where he went. I mean, he's just gone that cool.

SAM CHANG: Still looking at his ankles.

OMAR: Oh, my gosh.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Seriously. It's absolutely ridiculous. He should have had the highlight of the night on Tuesday night but, well, you know. Anyway, what have you guys thought of Cale Makar's production in the last little while? We talk about a guy who could be like a 30 goal scorer as a defenseman or maybe even more. Who knows?

OMAR: Yeah, I mean, he's just unreal. Watching him skate, it's one thing to see these highlights when they do the super slow motion and they focus on his edge work and stuff, but you just realize that he's doing this in full time, from the blue line as a defenseman. Head up the entire time, legs moving inside out.

It's just not fair. It's just not fair. So literally, when the Kirby Dach thing happens, destroys him there. And then the Avalanche face the Leafs, and the entire time I'm watching it, I was like, just don't do anything that ends up with the lights on the top 50 player of the year happens.

He's just ridiculous. He's a ridiculous player. He just makes it seem so easy. And I think that's the key thing when it comes to a superstar player is that when they're doing all of these ridiculous things and they just make it seem so easy like they don't even care.

That recent goal against Nashville, he scored that goal and barely even celebrated. That's when you know a player is at his peak. So it's like, man, it's tough for Philly considering the story the story that came out that --

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It's tough to run [INAUDIBLE].

OMAR: That's tough. Yeah, that's a tough one, man, because Cale Makar is, he's on another level. And it's not even close.

SAM CHANG: I wonder how long Bobby Clark had been holding on to that.

OMAR: He was sitting on it for sure.

SAM CHANG: He just waited.

OMAR: Yeah.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think the full quote, basically, was just doing [INAUDIBLE] for all these picks. He's saying we have all these first and second round guys who are never going to play. And they take Nolan Patrick above Cale Makar. I mean, he's in the NHL, I guess. He's on another team.

But Cale Makar, I mean, it's night and day between Nolan Patrick and Cale Makar. We're talking about just a random center compared to arguably the face of his position. And basically the only other defense who holds a candle to him is Adam Fox who should be up for a Norris Trophy every year.

Cale Makar, this tweet's from NHL Foley, on pace for 44 goals through 79 games. It would be the third most goals scored ever by a defenseman in a single season. And I know a lot of people like to think about the nature of the Norris Trophy. That should be enough for the Norris Trophy in my eyes if he's able to do that. I get it. You got to be a defenseman, but like --

SAM CHANG: At one point, I think at the end of November, he went on a run where he had scored one or two goals every game. And I did the math and he had as many goals in five games as the entire Canucks team had in that exact same period over the same number of games.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: This is obviously pre-Bruce.

SAM CHANG: So --

JULIAN MCKENZIE: This is obviously pre-Bruce.

SAM CHANG: This was pre-Bruce, yes.

OMAR: We have to set up the context. This is pre-Bruce.

SAM CHANG: This is right at the end of November.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Cuth, go in.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah, I mean, I think we're just talking about a generational player like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. They kind of seamlessly shifted into Connor McDavid. And I think when Connor McDavid, he's going to carry the mantle for the next five, six, seven years.

But I think at the end of that, we might be celebrating Cale Makar as one of the best defensemen of all time. And I think this year he's going to put himself, you mentioned the stat, he's going to put himself in the record books or in that conversation this year. What's he at, 16 goals?

I think only nine defensemen in history have ever scored 30. So he could get there by the end of February. And he could easily get to that 40 goal club. I was at a press conference with Jared Bednar maybe a month, month and a half ago. And he was asked about 40 goals just as a joke. And he stopped everyone from laughing and saying he can score 40 goals.

It was like he knew that he was going to have this scoring season. Maybe he didn't predict it by any means. But the talent is so damn obvious with this guy and it shines every night. I mean, we talk about the mantle maybe potentially being passed to him.

It has temporarily been passed to him in terms of watchability, because while the Edmonton Oilers continue to do what they do, I don't want to watch them. I want to watch the Colorado Avalanche and I want to see Cale Makar score a goal because he's pretty much doing it every night right now.

And I think he's going to get to 30. He'll be the first since Mike Green in 2008-2009 to get there. And I honestly think he could probably get 40. And you mentioned the Norris Trophy. I mean, 30 should do it. 40, we might be talking about the heart.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, I think so. I also love the fact --

OMAR: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I also love the fact, Cuth, that you mentioned that Jared Bednar, he believes that he could reach that plateau, too. Because there are coaches out there who would see a guy like Carl Makar and would see the offensive talent that he has and may want to try to shape them into something that he's not just in the hopes of having their players just model the team DNA of being defense first or something like that.

So to hear a coach not only just continue to put his player out and let him be great but even encourage those expectations for him, that says a lot about Jared Bednar. That says a lot about that type of coach. And look, I'm with you, man. I want to watch Cale Makar play.

I want to watch him basically do an N1 mix tape on the ice. I want to see him do it. Seeing him handle the puck and just wheel around players is one of the most fun things you can watch in the National Hockey League. Man, he's unreal.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: He's the best. He's the best skater in hockey. I mean, McDavid is the fastest, for sure, maybe the fastest with the puck. But in terms of everything that Makar does in terms of pivoting and twisting and turning and all the edge work, he's the best skater in the National Hockey League.

OMAR: Imagine if after the play, Jared Bednar was like, oh, yeah, it was a great goal but he only had one blocked shot, not too many hits.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He turned the puck over.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Four and four. I want four blocks --

OMAR: He turned the puck over.

SAM CHANG: I mean, I think the craziest thing about this conversation is none of us were like, oh, ridiculous if he's in a conversation for the Hart role. Yeah, that's totally reasonable. And this is a guy on a team with Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, and he's the one who's the standout right now. And Nazem Kadri is having a ridiculous season and no one is talking.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yes, he is. Yes, he is.

OMAR: He's on pace for like 130 points. It's insane.

SAM CHANG: Yeah, he's got 48 points in 30 games and he's having the season of his life and no one's talking about it because Cale Makar is so good right now.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, if it was a Leaf, we would.

OMAR: Man. Why? Man. Come on. Come on.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: But you're right, we would. But why are you booing me? I'm right.

OMAR: It's true. It is true. It is true, though. But yeah, man, that team is just like someone opened a franchise going into NHL '22.

SAM CHANG: They had a bad start to the season. That's the thing. They weren't good to start.

OMAR: Yeah. And maybe that's the adversity you need. Every team who goes on for a championship has that little tough pocket where they just like store all this Disney Channel music, I mean, music like Disney Channel energy, and then they use that for the playoff run.

So they can be like, oh, remember at the beginning of the season where we sucked? Look at us now. Right? So, hey, maybe this is their moment. Hopefully. That'd be cool.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What fictional Disney Channel show team, I guess the Wildcats from High School Musical, is that the energy you're thinking of? I don't know.

OMAR: The Wildcats, Troy Bolton has never faced a smidge of adversity in those movies.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: What?

OMAR: They get the ball to him 100 -- they won every single game. The beginning of the third movie, they win the championship. What are you talking about? There's no adversity whatsoever.

They win all the time. And they sing in the middle of it. That's how good they are. They're so good they don't have to pay attention. They can stop for three minutes, sing a song, and then win the championship right afterwards.

There is no adversity on that team. However, a team like the Colorado Avalanche who have gone through some things, you know what, maybe they can look in the past and think of all those moments, say we're all in this together, and then go on to a playoff run or something.

SAM CHANG: I did not expect Omar to have encyclopedic knowledge of High School Musicals one, two, and three.

OMAR: I know a lot about Disney Channel stuff.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Is it because you willingly watched it? Or did you have sisters? No judgment.

OMAR: No. Well, both.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: OK.

OMAR: Dude, when it initially came out, I was so hyped. The trailer for that, it was like, oh, this is the new Disney adventure where boy and girl meet at New Year's. So I was like, whoa, this is sick.

I was hype for those, man. I was watching and I was like, OK, all right, all right. This is nice music. Then they made the second one. I was like, oh, they did a sequel? And the third one came out in theaters. Whoa. Huge. So, yeah.

SAM CHANG: I love it.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Well, while grown men are watching, or not, grown people are watching Euphoria, you could catch Omar watching High School Musical over and over.

OMAR: Euphoria is wild.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Euphoria is damn wild. We could do a whole other podcast on the first episode of the new season.

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