CALGARY, Alberta — As one player regains health, another gets hurt. This is the natural imbalance of the 2022-23 Avalanche.
Cale Makar will miss Colorado’s game against the Flames on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. MT), coach Jared Bednar said after morning skate at the Saddledome. The defending Norris Trophy winner was classified as day-to-day.
Makar did travel with the team for the start of its three-game road trip, but he was not present at morning skate in Calgary, his hometown. Bednar didn’t disclose the specifics of the injury, but when asked if it’s an upper- or lower-body issue, he said: “Somewhere in there.”
Bednar said the injury might have popped up in the Avs’ 6-3 win against Ottawa, a game in which the Avalanche (22-17-3) wanted to rest him anyway after taking a 5-0 lead. Makar was available for interviews after that game. Generally, team policy is that injured players aren’t made available to media, meaning it was unclear at the time that he might be hurt.
When asked if there is any concern that the injury will have long-term implications, Bednar replied, “We’ll see.”
Fellow defenseman Josh Manson made the trip and skated Wednesday morning in a red non-contact jersey. He remains out (lower body), but the team is optimistic he’s close to returning after missing the last month. In the meantime, the Avs face Calgary without Makar, Manson and Bo Byram, all of whom ordinarily slot into the top-four defensemen.
Bednar said he doesn’t know yet who will pair with Devon Toews in Makar’s absence, but he does plan to continue using 11 forwards and seven defensemen, even without his best blueliner. Colorado has used an 11-and-seven lineup two consecutive games after playing the first 40 with a more traditional 12-and-six arrangement.
Jacob MacDonald, a healthy scratch in recent games, will rejoin the lineup as the seventh defenseman.
Makar did not miss a game in the first half of the season. He has 13 goals and 30 assists for a total of 43 points in 42 games. Recently selected to his second NHL All-Star Game, he leads the NHL in average ice time at 27:09.