Avs’ Cale Makar becomes Kraken playoff villain with nasty hit on McCann

Apr 24, 2023, 8:17 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2023, 12:07 am

Seattle Kraken Cale Makar Jared McCann...

Colorado's Cale Makar hits Seattle's Jared McCann in Game 4 of their first round series. (Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After a relatively respectable first three games, the gloves are officially off in the first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series between the Seattle Kraken and Colorado Avalanche.

The Kraken lost leading scorer Jared McCann in the first period of Game 4 at Climate Pledge Arena after star Colorado defenseman Cale Makar leveled him with a nasty hit following McCann’s short-handed shot on goal, and it’s very possible McCann won’t see action again this postseason.

Watch Makar’s hit on McCann: First angle | Second angle

After McCann’s shot fired off Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, McCann skated towards the corner to circle around. He never saw Makar coming – not should he have with the puck nowhere near them – as his head was smashed into the boards. McCann went down immediately and spent over a minute hunched over on the ice while being attended to. When he came off the ice, he clearly did not look to be in good shape.

Makar was initially assessed a major penalty for interference, but it was changed to a minor penalty after a review, which was met with resounding boos from the home crowd.

Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol indicated after the game that McCann is out for the foreseeable future.

“Late hit, really late, no puck in play. Our 40-goal scorer not available for the rest of the game and is not going to be available going forward here,” Hakstol said, per The Associated Press.

Recap: Kraken win 3-2 on Eberle’s OT goal, even series with Avs

Makar said the hit was “unfortunate” and that he did not intend to hurt McCann.

“It was a hockey play. I’m assuming he was going to the corner because it was coming down. I didn’t really look. Just unfortunate how that happened,” Makar said, as quoted in the AP recap story.

The cheap shot immediately drew the ire of Seattle Kraken fans, who booed Makar each time he touched the puck for the remainder of the game.

While the Kraken players didn’t retaliate directly, there were a number of skirmishes both before and after Makar’s hit, including as the horn sounded to end the first. Seattle’s feisty Yanni Gourde even drew chants of “Yanni, Yanni” from the crowd during that period-ending exchange.

Seattle got the best revenge by making good on the penalty play that Makar’s hit afforded them, with Daniel Sprong scoring off an assist from Justin Schultz for the Kraken’s first power-play goal of the series, pushing Seattle’s lead in the game to 2-0 (the Kraken would win 3-2 in overtime).

Makar didn’t even deliver the first questionable hit of the game by Colorado. Matt Nieto took an early penalty for boarding Seattle’s Jordan Eberle not even 90 seconds into the game.

The Kraken are even with the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche 2-2 in the series after Monday’s win, so while the series shifts back to Denver for Game 5, it’s guaranteed to come back to Seattle on Friday for Game 6.

More on the Seattle Kraken

TNT’s Faust: Seattle Kraken ‘have the foundation already’ for title runs
ESPN’s Linda Cohn: Kraken proved to Avs ‘they mean business,’ so what’s next?
Forslund: Avalanche seem ‘agitated’ by Kraken, and that’s good
Fann: Seattle Kraken have prime opportunity to turn casual fans into diehards

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