DENVER— In the final few minutes of the first period against the Colorado Avalanche, it seemed like New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal was headed to the penalty box after he tripped Cale Makar. The referee had his hand up, and everything and even blew his whistle when the Islanders gained possession.
That’s a first. Cale Makar just told the referee to not call the delayed call on Mathew Barzal. pic.twitter.com/Y80OQILsQo
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) December 20, 2022
Holy sportsmanship, am I right?
For most of the first period, the Islanders dominated the pace of play as the Avalanche struggled to transition and create chances. A power play for a team ranked 27.7 percent, the fifth best in the NHL would have been a glorious chance for them to crack the scoreboard first.
But the chance did not come, thanks to Makar’s honesty. It’s not something you usually see and not something we have ever seen.
“I honestly didn’t even know he waved it off until I saw it after,” Barzal said. “I thought the ref just made the call but yeah, obviously good sportsmanship on his part not taking that. I don’t know if I would have done the same, to be honest with you.”
Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said he had never seen that happen before but gave Makar credit.
“Just an honest player who wants to beat you fair and square,” Lambert said.
When asked if one of his players would have done that, what he would have thought:
“Well, that’s irrelevant because none of my players didn’t do that.”
Makar did address his decision after the game and had this to say (H/t Peter Baugh):
“The ref that called it wasn’t the one at center ice. … I don’t think he had a good angle on it. … I think I would have felt a lot less guilty if I didn’t say anything than if I did. … I apologize to (my teammates). I don’t plan on doing that again.”