The only time you’ll hear Nazem Kadri’s name for the rest of the series is in a recap when the Bruins and Maple Leafs conclude latest postseason matchup.
Kadri had an in-person hearing with the NHL Player Safety Department in New York on Monday, meaning a potential suspension of six or more games under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Well, the department didn’t exactly go down that route, but they made the statement nonetheless.
The enigmatic Leafs forward earned a suspension for the rest of the first round — between three and five games — following his cross check to the face of Jake DeBrusk in Game 2 Saturday night.
Kadri’s repeat offender status played a role in his latest ban. His recent suspension came in last year’s first round series for his vicious hit on former Bruin Tommy Wingels.
Of course, Kadri didn’t do himself a favor for his hit on DeBrusk. Yes, there was bad blood boiling over between Kadri and DeBrusk from Game 1. And yes, Kadri deservingly took exception to DeBrusk’s questionable knee on knee hit on him and his collision with Patrick Marleau near the stanchion that led to the ensuing cross-check.
But the veteran crossed the line with his cheap hit on DeBrusk. Now he’ll be watching the rest of the series from high above rinkside.
“As the video shows, Maple Leaf Patrick Marleau brings the puck through center ice on the rush with Kadri supporting him and DeBrusk pursuing him on the backcheck, ” the league said in its video statement.
“Marleau bobbles the puck briefly before regaining possession and chipping the puck in deep. As Marleau releases the puck, DeBrusk comes up alongside him and delivers a hard, legal hit into the glass. Kadri sees the check occur and immediately skates over to DeBrusk. He raises his stick with both hands, and delivers a hard, forceful blow directly to the head of DeBrusk.”
DeBrusk didn’t have much to say following the Kadri hit. He’ll be in the lineup for Game 3 up at Scotiabank Arena.
Yet, despite coming out unscathed, DeBrusk enters Monday’s important tilt as public enemy No. 1 in Toronto. The heckling started Saturday from up north with the likes of Sean Avery weighing in on DeBrusk being a cheap shot artist. Talk about the pot meeting the kettle.
No matter. Kadri will return from New York with a ban and fewer dollars following the verdict.
“This is not a hockey play,” the league added. “Instead, this is a player retaliating against an opponent by using a stick as a weapon to make forceful and direct head contact.”
Thus closes an interesting chapter of the Bruins-Maple Leafs rivalry.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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