Nazem Kadri Suspended For Three Games

The National Hockey League has announced that Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri has been suspended three games for his elbow to the head of Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom, meaning he will be out of the lineup until no sooner than November 21st. 

The Incident

This hit has caused a lot of debate. Many were clamouring for a match penalty (which Kadri would later get for a hit on Mikael Granlund), but the NHL’s rulebook only calls for such a move in hits where there was an deliberate attempt to injure a player. It’s hard to argue against Kadri having an intent to make contact, but an actual attempt at injury may be a reach.

As for the suspension? As much as Leafs fans didn’t want to see it, it does make sense. Kadri’s elbow is aiming and was successfully able to make Backstrom’s head the principle point of contact. There was no attempt to move away from Backstrom, and as such, a punishment of this severity makes sense.

Many will chirp back with "hey, Reimer gets run all the time!" or "what about when this wasn’t called", but the reality is that you can’t ask for Player Safety to continue to make unwise choices to make previous ones seem sensible.

What Does This Mean?

The Leafs currently have Jay McClement and Jerred Smithson as their top two natural centres, and now need to call up somebody (one of Trevor Smith or Greg McKegg) to fill a gap.

Is It Time To Panic?

Probably. But..

Is It Time To Make A Panic Move?

Well, no. These three games are going to be stressful, but lets be honest; most of the season has been already. In a week, Kadri will be back from his suspension and Tyler Bozak will be eligible to be activated from the injured reserve. There’s still the matter of filling the void of Bolland at the three slot, but due diligence can be taken.

As I’ve stated before, with no high quality centres on the market, and the Leafs being in a known position of "desperation", the cost on acquiring anybody will be high. Combine that with low cap flexibility, and it would likely take a huge shakeup to bring somebody in.

The safest move for now? In my opinion, it would be call up McKegg and hope that his below 0.5 PPG pace with the Marlies can be curbed into something better with higher quality linemates for the next week or so. In the mean time, Kadri will take the next week to think long and hard about whether he wants to be as reckless as he was last night from this point on.

  • STAN

    Reckless it was and three games seems more than fair.

    Joe Colborne is starting to look a little better all of a sudden. It seems to be Murphy’s law with Nonis. The Colborne deal seem fair enough at the time, but in hindsight…

    I agree. Bring up McKegg. It certainly can’t hurt.

    • MaxPower417

      I liked Colborne but he isn’t really doing that well in Calgary: 4 points in 17 games with a .059 shooting percentage and 42.9% in the faceoff cicle while getting about 13 minutes of ice time and 18 minutes some nights.

      I think Mason Raymond could do better and he has played center with the Canucks. Why not let Raymond play center with Smithson coming out just for the face offs?

      Didn’t the Canucks do something similar with Manny Malhotra?

  • MaxPower417

    Best UFA center available:
    Tim Connolly
    Marty Reasoner
    Tanner House
    Krys Kolanos
    Ryan Potulny

    Yes. That pretty much means we need to trade for a Center or wait for “deliverance” by Bozak and Kadri.

  • MaxPower417

    Should of dq’d him for 3 months that’ll teach these slime balls to stop the cheap shots. This stinking team thinks they’ll have a shot at the cup playing like this haha haha what a joke. Lupol, kadri to me are junky players, not worth a load of crap like most of the team. We’ll see this team on golf coarse once again this year. Lmao!!!!!

    • STAN

      JP, your response is complete nonsense. 3 months for a non habitual previous offender? Seriously. Did Kadri display poor judgement- yes. Does it equal 3 months – no.

      Now if we are talking making stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, I am not opposed to this either, but the players union is at a catch 22 with this since their union represents the victims and perpetrators. Jobs are jobs and the mandate is to service all of their constituents.

      As for your assessment of Kadri and Lupol being valued as “junky players”, you are entitled to your own delusional assessments with no facts to me is equal to just ranting. Just a wild guess that you are not a Leaf fan.

      • Jeremy Ian

        I don’t call this poor judgement it’s obvious he was intending to hurt. Watch the replays both hits were cheap shots purely intended to take out the man and injure someone. For this I think he should be given 3 months maybe more, the only way to teach a good lesson and for the record NO absolutely not a laugh fan.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Yes it was the right punishment. Too much basic medical science would have to be ignored otherwise.

    Yes, it’s time to panic.

    But it’s not the time for big moves. Bad times tend to lead to bad judgments (which is why institutions don’t pull out of nose-dives on their own — Blackberry anyone?).

    Muddle through this, Marlies plus Raymond and JVR at center, wait until Kadri’s back for a while, see if the team can be stabilized, then assess the options. Maybe use the mess to focus on play in the Leafs’ own end.

    Be strategic, not reactive.

  • STAN

    Here’s something that I find weird. What were the Wild coaches and trainers thinking by leaving Backstrom in the net after such a jarred hit to the head.

    He should have been taken out of the game, sent to the quiet room and given proper tests.

    The NHL should suspend the Wild head coach for 3 games for being negligent.

  • STAN

    Are you guys serious? There is no way Kadri should have even received a game for that. Backstrom went down like he was shot, and while Kadri could have tried harder to avoid him, it wasn’t malicious and I will be very surprised if Backstrom is injured.