Almost a year after Nazem Kadri last found himself in hot water during the Stanley Cup Playoffs over a boneheaded move, it looks as though the Maple Leafs forward is once again to cost his team over a high-stakes series with the Bruins.
It didn’t take long for Kadri to hear from the league office after he was tossed from the B’s Game 2 win on Saturday for dropping Jake DeBrusk with a cross-check to the face — as the NHL’s Department of Player Safety tweeted shortly after the 4-1 final that Kadri will be offered an in-person hearing for disciplinary action.
Speaking postgame, a clearly dazed DeBrusk took the high road when it came to discussing Kadri, who got into a tussle with the B’s winger early in the first period before both skaters collided in the middle stanza with a knee-on-knee hit.
“I think that’s up to the league to decide to be honest,” DeBrusk said. “Yeah, I’ve got no comment on that.”
Nazem Kadri cross-checks Jake DeBrusk in the face.
Kadri gets a 5-minute major and game misconduct. pic.twitter.com/9CTdHuGNfb
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 14, 2019
While DeBrusk’s status for Game 3 on Monday night is a bit up in the air, it doesn’t seem like Kadri will be playing any time soon, given his disciplinary history. With an in-person hearing scheduled, it seems like a given that Kadri is going to suspended — with the league having the ability to suspend a player for five or more games when they call the player in for the hearing. Had it been a phone hearing, 1-3 games would have been the likely result. Kadri’s in-person hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Kadri has a lengthy rap sheet when it comes to the NHL DOPS, with the center suspended for 14 games over four separate incidents since November 2013, while also getting fined a combined $9,000 for another three infractions. Given his track record, it seems like the NHL is prepared to throw the book at Kadri, who drilled Tommy Wingels with a late hit in pretty much the exact same spot at TD Garden during Game 1 of last year’s playoff matchup, earning himself a three-game suspension.
Losing Kadri is a tough blow for the Leafs, with the 28-year-old pivot anchoring a skilled third line with Patrick Marleau and William Nylander and tallying 80 goals over his last three seasons. One of the few Leafs forwards that can knock around skaters down low, Kadri was arguably Toronto’s top forward during Saturday’s loss — tipping a puck past Tuukka Rask for the Leafs' lone goal of the night at 10:44 in the third.
While a great relief performance by Tomas Plekanec during last year’s playoff series allowed the Leafs to absorb some of Kadri’s absence and roll out a line that was still able to match up against Patrice Bergeron and Boston’s top line, Plekanec is long gone — with Toronto now likely forced to shift a 39-year-old Marleau or Nylander over the pivot.