The Colorado Avalanche received another blow shortly after a crushing overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken that tied their first-round series at two games apiece.
Star defenseman Cale Makar is suspended for Game 5 on Wednesday night after his hit that knocked Jared McCann out of the game.
Early in the first period, Makar put McCann into the boards after McCann’s short-handed breakaway opportunity was stopped by Alexandar Georgiev. The puck was out of play, but Makar still laid down the hit, which was ruled an interference penalty.
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Makar stayed in the game, but McCann lay on the ice before being attended to by medical staff. He eventually left the game and did not return, and Seattle has already ruled him out for Game 5 and possibly beyond.
Makar was initially assessed a five-minute major, but video replay switched the call. Despite the severity of the penalty decreasing in the game, Makar met with the NHL Department of Player Safety.
“It is important to note that McCann is in no way eligible to be checked on this play,” the league said. “Makar finishes this hit well outside the allowable window for finishing a check. In addition, it is clear that Makar knows McCann is not in possession of the puck when he decides to deliver this hit.
“While we have heard Makar’s assertion that he assumed the puck would bounce into the corner and the play would continue, the onus is on Makar to ensure this occurs before initiating contact. The result of this play is a body check to a vulnerable player who is not eligible to be hit that causes an injury.”
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“It’s unfortunate. I never want to injure guys,” Makar said after the game. “Hopefully he’s all right. At the end of the day… I didn’t feel like I tried to finish him that hard. But, I mean, I feel like if I was in that scenario, they would have done the exact same thing. I’m not trying to hurt anybody. It’s just unfortunate, tough bounce there. They got the call right, and that’s all you can ask for.”
McCann scored 40 goals in the regular season, becoming the first 40-goal scorer in the franchise’s brief history. Makar, the 2022 Norris Trophy winner for the top defenseman, scored 17 goals and handed ot 49 assists in the regular season for the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
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The series moves back to Denver for Game 5.