Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a late hit on Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann.
Makar delivered the hit with 8:24 remaining in the first period. McCann moved in on a shorthanded breakaway against Avs goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The shot was stopped, with the puck deflecting out of play. Makar gave McCann a light shove in the back before driving him solidly into the boards.
The hit itself appeard legal. The issue was that McCann – with the puck well out of play – was not eligible to be checked on the play. This is interference. From Rule 56:
A minor penalty for interference shall be imposed (i) On a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck;
The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence, to a player guilty of
interfering with an opponent. When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.
The officials discussed the play before calling it a major penalty for interference. The call allowed for a video review, after which referees Eric Furlatt and Trevor Hanson downgraded it to a minor penalty for interference.
“I believe the puck is being caught by a fan as [McCann] is being run into the end wall,” Hakstol told ESPN. “Late hit. Really late. No puck in play. Like I said, our 40-goal scorer was not available for the rest of the game and not going to be available going forward here.”
ESPN reported that the officials explained to Hakstol that the penalty was downgraded to a minor because the puck was still in play.
“I disagree with that obviously,” Hakstol added. “I disagree with that assessment, whether that’s by the refs or by Toronto. That’s not an accurate description of the play.”
McCann was injured on the play. He is expected to be out of the lineup for Wednesday’s Game 5.
“It’s unfortunate. I never want to injure guys,” Makar said. “Hopefully he’s all right. … I didn’t feel like I tried to finish him that hard. 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…. Unfortunate circumstances and I hope he’s all right.”
McCann will miss Game 5. It’s up to Player Safety to decide if Makar will as well.
The Kraken won the game 3-2 in overtime. Officials were referees Eric Furlatt (#27) and Trevor Hanson (#14) with linesmen Jonny Murray (#95) and Travis Gawryletz (#67).