Avalanche's Cale Makar feels 'guilty' about declining penalty

'I don't know if it's something I'll do again.'

Cale Makar declined a power play after New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal was wrongly penalized for tripping on Monday. (Reuters)
Cale Makar declined a power play after New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal was wrongly penalized for tripping on Monday. (Reuters)

On top of being one of the best players in hockey, Cale Makar looks like he's a good person, too.

Good sportsmanship is one of the first things any kid is taught when they take up sports. Winning is important, but upholding the integrity of the game should always come first. It seems as though sometimes we lose sight of that idea in the heat of competition, which is why it’s so refreshing to see those principles prevail at the highest level.

During his Monday night game against the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar slipped while skating around his net, leading to a tripping penalty called against Mathew Barzal, who was pursuing him.

The instant referee Brandon Blandina blew the whistle and Makar understood what had happened, he waved his hand to speak with the official. Blandina then announced that there would be no penalty, to the dismay of the Colorado crowd.

“I don’t think he had a good angle on it, he just saw me fall,” Makar said after the Avalanche's 1-0 shootout win. “I would like to think most times I fall it’s usually because somebody trips me. That one I just lost an edge.”

Despite seemingly doing the right thing by asking the penalty to be overturned, the 24-year-old wasn't so sure about his decision after it set in.

"I felt a lot more guilty about doing that than probably if I would've said nothing," Makar said. "I don't know if it's something I'll do again."

Makar has been outspoken about his disappointment with how games have been officiated during the season and joked about saving Blandina “from some media attention.” Makar found himself in a difficult, no-win situation following that call. He would either be benefitting from a clear mistake by the official or would be letting his team down by depriving them of a power play in a tie game.

“It kind of shows you who Cale is,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. “Typical Cale.”

Although he appreciated the honesty, Barzal isn't sure he would have been so forthcoming.

"Obviously, good sportsmanship on his part," he told reporters post-game. "I don't know if I would have done the same, to be honest with you."

What Makar has also done in this situation is be an exemplary role model to every amateur athlete in any sport. If a two-time NHL All-Star, Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and Stanley Cup champion can make the right decision, then you have no reason not to.

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