Colorado Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar was suspended one game by the NHL on Tuesday for his hit on Seattle’s Jared McCann in the first period of a Game 4 loss to the Kraken.
Makar, last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP, will be watching Game 5 on Wednesday night with the series tied 2-2. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced the suspension after a hearing with Makar.
Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after the Kraken’s 3-2 overtime win Monday night that McCann would miss Game 5 and likely be out longer. He did not specify McCann’s injury.
The hit happened midway through the first period as McCann had a shorthanded breakaway attempt. His shot was saved by Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev with the puck going over the glass into the netting.
McCann appeared unprepared for the hit from Makar, which left Seattle’s leading scorer from the regular season on the ice for several minutes and needed help to get to the bench.
Makar said he was unaware of where the puck was when he made the hit. Makar was initially given a 5-minute major penalty, but it was reduced to a 2-minute minor for interference after a review.
“It’s unfortunate. I never want to injure guys. Hopefully, he’s all right,” Makar said after the game. “I didn’t feel like I tried to finish him that hard, but I feel like if I was in that scenario, they would have done the exact same thing. I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”
The loss of Makar is another blow for the Avalanche, who played the past two games without forward Valeri Nichushkin for personal reasons and have been beset by key injuries for much of the season.