Cale Makar is a good guy, and he doesn’t have a lot of enemies around the league. The Colorado Avalanche superstar is the defending Norris Trophy winner, and last year, he was also the Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP.
He’s more known for his creative plays and his fantastic defensive abilities than for his physical play. He’s a gentleman on the ice, and it’s not often we find him in controversial situations with opponents. But on Monday, he was the villain in the eyes of the Seattle Kraken fans after causing an injury to Jared McCann.
McCann, who scored 40 goals during the regular season, had to leave the game after taking a hard hit from Makar early in the first period.
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev saved a shot, and as the deflected puck went out of play, Makar delivered a hit on McCann, who was in a vulnerable position. Cale Makar said he didn’t know where the puck was and still thought it was in play.
McCann seemingly knew that the puck was out of play and was in no position to protect himself, as he knew the puck was dead.
“I know he got the shot off. And then I was just assuming he was going to the corner, because it was coming down. So I didn’t really look,” he said. “And then, yeah, just unfortunate how it happened.”
When Makar shoved McCann into the glass, the Kraken forward’s head seemed to take the initial contact with the boards. You could immediately tell he got injured when he fell to the ice.
“It’s unfortunate. I never want to injure guys. Hopefully, he’s all right,” Makar said.
“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.
Cale Makar was initially called on a major, but officials downgraded it to a minor for interference, as the refs felt there was a puck in play.
“I disagreed with that, obviously, as I looked at it live, and for sure looking at it after(ward),” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.
“I believe the puck is being caught by a fan as ‘Canner’ is being run into,” Hakstol said. “Late hit. Really late. No puck in play.”
Fans were also critical of the decision to downgrade the penalty call on Makar, and many felt he fully deserved a major for injuring one of Kraken’s biggest stars.