It didn’t take very long for a consensus to be reached. It wasn’t a matter of if Nazem Kadri was going to be suspended for his actions during the Bruins’ Game 2 win on Saturday night — but rather, how long his sentence was going to be.
The writing was on the wall for the 28-year-old pivot after he was called into the NHL’s headquarters in New York City for an in-person hearing with the league’s Department of Player Safety — granting the NHL the ability to levy a suspension of five or more games against Kadri after he cross-checked Jake DeBrusk in the face during the third period of Saturday’s 4-1 B’s win.
The final ruling? The league announced a little under an hour from puck drop in Game 3 that Kadri will be suspended for the rest of Toronto’s first-round series against the Bruins — which, at the minimum, stands as three games, and at a maximum, five.
Kadri’s lengthy disciplinary history definitely played a part in his lengthy suspension, as the center sat out for three games during last year’s playoff series against Boston after crushing Tommy Wingels with a dangerous hit during Game 1. In total, the Leafs forward has been suspended for 14 games over four separate incidents since November 2013, while also getting fined a combined $9,000 for various other infractions.
While DeBrusk is expected is return to the lineup for Game 3 on Monday night at Scotiabank Arena, the optics didn’t look too good in the immediate aftermath of the hit, with DeBrusk dropping to the ice and Kadri sent off on a game misconduct and a five-minute major.
“Late. Cross-check. High. In the face,” David Backes said on Saturday when discussing the hit. “Without the puck, really. I’m sure the Department of Player Safety will be looking at it. We’ll let them do their job and we’ll keep playing whoever is in their lineup. If he’s in, fine. If he’s not, we’ll be fine as well and we’ll put the same sort of game out there and concentrate on what our prize is — and that’s winning the next one and winning the next one until they say this thing is over."