In his prep work to call the NCAA’s Northeast Regional last weekend, ESPN analyst Barry Melrose asked UMass coach Greg Carvel what Cale Makar most needed to work on.
“He said ‘His one-timer. He doesn’t one-time the puck very well,’” Melrose said. “In the second game, he hit a one-timer that was flying. If that’s the biggest problem he’s got, I’d like to have his problems.”
Melrose arrived in Manchester, New Hampshire eager to see Makar up close. The man, who once coached Wayne Gretzky with the Los Angeles Kings, came away impressed and eager to see the Minuteman sophomore again next week at the Frozen Four.
“The kid’s got everything. I thought he was great. He was better in the second game than he was in the first game and he was pretty good in the first game,” said Melrose, who thought Makar’s presence would draw in fans without an allegiance to any school. “Without a doubt. Cale is the main show. He’s what everybody is going to come for. If you’re not a fan of anybody, you’re going to come see him. He was what I wanted to see in the regional tournament and now I want to see him against three other teams.”
It might be the last time to see Makar as a college player. Most people in hockey circles are assuming Makar, a first-round pick of the Avalanche in 2017, will join Colorado after the Frozen Four. The Avalanche’s win over Winnipeg Thursday assured them a spot in the playoffs. Melrose thinks he’s ready.