The NHL Department of Player Safety has announced that Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri will be suspened 3 games for his hit on Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom in Wednesday nights contest. Kadri was given a two minute minor on the play, and was in fact ejected later in the game for an unrelated incident.
A reminder of what happened:
Kadri’s “hit” on Backstrom was clearly illegal, and should have likely resulted in his ejection at the time, which probably would have been sufficient punishment. Since he was allowed to stay in the game, it is not surprising that he received supplemental discipline. Kadri’s lack of history with the Department of Player Safety worked to his benefit, but he will now have to toe the line to ensure he does not cross it as it sometimes does now that he has a record.
The Leafs will now have to make due without their top-3 centres with Kadri suspended, with Jay McClement the lone natural centre from the Leafs original top-4 remaining in the line up. With James van Riemsdyk already moved to centre, and a lack of centre depth with their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs may resort to moving another winger to centre in the short term. It’s not an ideal solution, but the Leafs might not have much of a choice.
For the reasoning behind the suspension, the robot formerlly known as Brenden Shannahan explain in his delightful monotone.