Cale Makar suspended for Game 5 of first round series

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken - Game Four

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - APRIL 24: Jared McCann #19 of the Seattle Kraken lays on the ice after a check by Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche during the first period in Game Four of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Climate Pledge Arena on April 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar has been suspended one game by the National Hockey League’s department of player safety for interference on a late hit to forward Jared McCann and will miss Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on Wednesday at Ball Arena. 

Makar was issued a two minute interference penalty in the first period, originally a major penalty, but downgraded upon further officiating review. McCann took a late hit from Makar in the left corner after McCann was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway, with the puck immediately then deflecting out of play. 

McCann needed help leaving the ice and would not return for the game, a 3-2 overtime win for the Kraken. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said McCann has been ruled out for Game 5 with a possible lengthier absence. 

“My assumption would be a bit longer than that,” said Hakstol. 

The replay showed Makar delivering the hit after the puck had left the playing surface. 

“A late hit, where the puck is out of play,” said Hakstol. “Canner shoots that puck, it goes immediately out of play, straight into the netting. I believe the puck is being caught by a fan, as Canner is being run into the end wall. Late hit, really late, no puck in play.” 

Despite a series where he’s struggled to hit the scoresheet with an assist in four games, McCann led the Kraken with 40 goals this season and is now the second high impact player unavailable for the Kraken in a series that is now a best-of-three. Andre Burakovsky, who led the Kraken in scoring before missing the final two months of the regular season, had corrective surgery on a lingering lower body ailment and is in an approximate six-week recovery window. 

Colorado, entering this playoff series as defending Stanley Cup champion, is already without captain Gabriel Landeskog, missing the entire season after undergoing knee surgery in October. Valeri Nichushkin has is away from the team due to what head coach Jared Bednar said was for “personal reasons” and has missed two games. 

Makar is scheduled to return for Game 6 of the series in Seattle on Friday (face-off time to be announced). 

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