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Gentleman's Game

In the most Canadian move ever, Cale Makar declined a tripping penalty ... and the ref actually listened

December 20, 2022

Cale Makar is not only the best skater among defensemen, he is perhaps the best skater in the National Hockey League. To stop him, you're essentially attempting to stop a freight train that is operating at breakneck speed, which usually results in a penalty.

Hence why, when Makar fell on the ice on Monday night in Colorado, the referee promptly blew the whistle to call a tripping penalty on New York Islanders forward Matt Barzal. It simply had to be a penalty for Barzal to actually cause Makar to fall to the ice. 

In the most Canadian move ever, Makar popped up and started waving his hand at the official, as if to say "nope, that was just me." In fact, that's exactly what he was doing -- declining a penalty, in the NHL. And it actually worked:

If you were to poll 100 players in the NHL, 99 of them would say they'd zip their lip and happily wave to Barzal as he skated over to the box for the phantom trip, which could have very well led to a power play goal. Makar, who does dabble in some golf during the off-season, is bringing the gentleman's game energy to the ice, and it's a wild thing to see, especially given the discourse with recent officiating mishaps in another professional sports league, one you actually are allowed to decline penalties in. In the NHL, though, it's a rather odd occurrence. 

Strangely enough, though, it did happen this past April, and it wasn't an honest-to-fault, aggressively-nice Canadian player who did it. It was actually Alex Ovechkin, and it also worked. Maybe it's something about legendary players who wear No. 8:

Again, we can think of a lot of guys who would lay down and fake bleed for awhile in these two situations. Not Makar and Ovi. Coupla standup blokes. Also, the Avs went on to win 1-0, as good of proof as you need that karma exists.