Welcome to Please Like My Sport, the weekly column in which we find various things that can (and should) make you excited about hockey this week. Whether you're already a hockey enjoyer or someone who is looking for reasons to become one, the goal here is to deliver reasons for you to appreciate the NHL right now.
Here are some things to enjoy about hockey this week:
The surge of Cale Makar
One of the easiest things to appreciate about hockey these days is Colorado Avalanche rookie phenom Cale Makar. With two-thirds of the Avalanche's top line out of commission, the Avs experienced an offensive dip and needed some other guys to start upping their game in order to make up for lost production. Nathan MacKinnon can't do it all himself.
So, enter Makar.
Anyone paying attention already knew Makar was a special talent. He captured the Hobey Baker as college hockey's best player last season, leading UMass to the national title game before joining the Avs during the Stanley Cup Playoffs where he made an immediate impact. Prior to this regular season,, though I predicted he might lose the Calder Trophy to a forward who put up sexier numbers.
It appears as though I may have underestimated just how good Makar's numbers could be.
Through 18 games this season, Makar is averaging a point-per-game with five goals and 13 assists. He hasn't been perfect, especially defensively, and that's to be expected with a young defenseman. But Makar seems to be getting more comfortable and he's come on particularly strong over the past week after being paired with Ryan Graves in a top-four role. Makar has scored four goals in the Avs' last three games -- all of them coming at even-strength.
His surge has come at a crucial time and helped Colorado snap a five-game losing streak in order to put together three straight wins. Makar had the game-winning goal in two of those games. And it's not just that he's doing it, it's how he's doing it. Look at the skill on this maniac... he's so much fun.
Makar finding a little more stability and comfort is a dangerous thing for the rest of the league and it could serve as a major help for the Avs in the absence of Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog up front. After scoring just seven total goals during their five-game losing streak, Colorado has netted 17 in their last three games -- including a six-goal outburst in the span of eight minutes during a game against Nashville last week. Makar has been on the ice for 10 of those 17 goals.
Predators, and I really liked the classic style that both of those looks brought. This week, we have another outdoor game jersey to show off, and I like this one too -- albeit for a much different reason.featured the Winter Classic jerseys for the Stars and
Introducing what might be Colorado Avalanche Stadium Series jersey:
It should be noted that this is just a leak right now. If it does turn out to be real, I give this jersey a major thumbs up. Not because it's a good jersey -- it's actually pretty tacky -- but because I fully endorse chaos and getting weird just for the sake of it.
It feels as though hockey has been afraid to take chances on new and weird uniforms lately, and as a result we just keep seeing a lot of status quo and recycled ones. Even if you think these Avs jerseys are pretty ugly (they are), at least they're interesting. They have personality and the full-crest style is a rarity. I'd rather see something like this than, say, another "classic" look that is completely devoid of creativity or interesting elements -- looking at you, new Bruins alternate. Embrace weirdness.
Plus, it's just another Stadium Series game so, honestly, who even cares?
This Connor McDavid goal
If we're taking time to appreciate some things about hockey, it's important to recognize this patently absurd goal that Connor McDavid scored over the weekend. I mean, it's just stupid. It doesn't really make sense. And, once again, he makes it look extremely easy.
The ice cream theft
In case you haven't yet seen it, Carolina Hurricanes broadcast took Hockey Twitter by storm this week:from a
It is quite funny and weird, but let's address something real quick: I think this is quite obviously staged, and it's completely okay to admit it. Come on, you know it's fake. Who the hell holds an ice cream cone like that? And that guy definitely would have felt his arm being tugged upward as the thief swiped the cone. The execution and sell-job from our "thief" here was pretty darn good, but the dude holding the cone isn't going to be up for any awards this Oscar season.
That being said, it's still a pretty funny bit and I'm willing to accept its viral state. While I don't typically love clearly staged attempts at going viral, I do think this falls more under the category of "weird and entertaining" more than it does "cringeworthy and shameless."
Mailbag question of the week
In absence of a Quote of the Week, let's answer a reader question.
What are your thoughts on people wearing jerseys of players that no longer play on the team, but still play in the league. (Example, Avs played Predators last week, saw a fair amount of Avs Duchene jerseys)— colin. (@UhhhhColin) November 13, 2019
I think this is totally fine, though it does get a bit dicier when you're wearing the jersey of a player who had something of an ugly divorce with the team. Duchene is a decent example but it's sort of hard to be super bitter about that right now if you're an Avs fan, right? Considering how expensive authentic hockey jerseys are, it's hard to shame someone for wearing a player who isn't presently on the team.
Plus, one of my favorite things about going to games is spotting odd or obscure jerseys from fans in attendance. As a Bruins fan, the Manny Fernandez jerseys always make me laugh.
The Beautiful Game highlight of the week
A truly lights-out penalty kill strategy from the Bruins, if you ask me.