Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has been suspended four games for his illegal check to the head of Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Fraser. The incident took place when the two teams faced off on Monday night.
Kadri is a repeat offender, having been suspended three games last year after an incident with Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Kadri says that the incident was Fraser wasn’t intentional and he tried to apologize to him on the ice after the play. Indeed, the league seems to chalk this up to a series of bad choices and lowered the boom accordingly. It was the repeat offender status that made this a four game suspension, not any sort of “malicious” targeting of the head.
Another problem for Kadri is the fact that Fraser, like Backstrom before him, suffered a concussion on the play.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet…but I will in the future for sure,” Kadri said of Fraser. “It wasn’t my intention to hurt him or anyone. It was obvious I felt bad about it on the ice when it happened.”
Kadri hasn’t exactly been in the Leafs’ good books as of late, having just served a three game team suspension for being late for practice. He has had management call out various “lifestyle choices,” too, and has been a convenient target for what’s been ailing the team. He’s in good company given the nature of this imploding franchise.
For right now, the Maple Leafs have to hope Kadri comes out of this a better player. Or something. He’s not going to appeal any part of this suspension (why bother?) and he’s committed to getting his game back on track. And he’s not going to change that physical aspect of his game, either.
“You still have to play hard every night,” he says. “You do what you can to help your team and playing physical gets you into games more. That situation happened very quickly. It’s always tough when you miss this many games. You’re not with your teammates and that’s the hardest part, I don’t care about the money. But it’s a tough situation and there’s nothing you can do about it.”