Kadri Suspended for Remainder of First Round

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Nazem Kadri for the remainder of the First Round of the postseason following an illegal cross-check to the head of Boston Bruins’ forward Jake DeBrusk.

Kadri and DeBrusk have a history together that dates back to the 2018 NHL Postseason. Kadri crosschecked DeBrusk in the head (unpenalized and unpunished at the time) just one game after returning from a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Tommy Wingels.

This year, Kadri has continued to wreak havoc for the Maple Leafs and has been one of the most high-energy players on their roster throughout the postseason. Unfortunately, that’s included two hits to the head of DeBrusk with the second one now resulting in this lengthy suspension.

Nazem Kadri Maple Leafs
Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec. 12, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

DeBrusk isn’t innocent in this entire feud either has he’s also thrown his fair share of hits and retaliations to Kadri, including a knee-on-knee exchange that wasn’t penalized in the Bruins 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 2. Whether or not the incident was accidental as some may suggest, the fact that it occurred between these two players makes it hard to simply let it go as an accident.

Despite this, Kadri’s inability to control his actions could now be very costly to the Maple Leafs for the second consecutive postseason. The Maple Leafs are one of the best teams in the NHL because of their strong forward depth and part of that comes as a result of the team’s third-line center in Kadri being a former 30-goal scorer. With his absence, the team will now be severely depleted moving forward.

Kadri’s History is Lengthy

Included in Kadri’s previous supplemental discipline history is a three-game suspension in November of 2013 for a hit to the head of Niklas Backstrom, an illegal check to the head in March of 2015 against Matt Fraser, a $5,000 fine for an inappropriate throat-slash gesture at Mark Giordano in February of 2016, a $2,000 fine on two separate occasions on March 12 and March 21 of 2016, a four-game suspension for cross-checking Luke Glendening in the face (remainder of the regular season) and a three- game suspension during the playoffs last season for the boarding/hit to the head of Wingels.

Nazem Kadri
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer)

To say that Kadri’s history of making head contact with his opponents is lengthy would be an understatement. While it may be very annoying for Maple Leafs fans to deal with, its a lot of careless and self-inflicted wounds that are hurting them as far as Kadri is concerned.

One thing is definitely clear about this series between the Maple Leafs and Bruins; the referees will need to take control of the series from here on out. The liberties taken by both teams have been abhorrent and the officials inconsistent rulings on the ice have led to more confusion and frustration than anything. This will have to change moving forward.

The Bruins and Maple Leafs face off in Game 3 on Monday night with the series shifting to Toronto for the first time. The series is tied at one win apiece and Game 3 could have a serious impact on the ultimate outcome of the series.