Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has been suspended three games following his hit on Boston’s Tommy Wingels.
The incident took place during Game One of Toronto’s first round playoff series against the Bruins.
The suspension was handed down by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety Friday night.
This is Kadri’s fourth suspension and first since April of 2016. That time around, the forward was suspended four games for a cross-check to the face of Luke Glendening. That suspension took place as he was considered a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA, what with two suspensions during the 2014-2015 season.
And so here we are, with Kadri set to serve a three-game suspension during the playoffs.
As everyone knows, three playoff games are like six regular season games. Or something.
The point is that the Department of Player Safety threw the book at Kadri for this one and made an example out of him for what’s effectively being seen as a lack of reformation on his part. With the 27-year-old making adjustments to his game but still playing close to that “line,” the incident against Wingels was definitely one that the NHL believes crossed over.
Kadri’s pummelling of Wingels came on a night when Toronto was getting shelled at the hands of the Bruins. They lost by a final score of 5-1 and were out of the running for most of the proceedings, so frustration was in the air.
Kadri saw Wingels hammer Mitch Marner with an elbow and charged, nailing the fallen or falling Bruin right in the sweet spot.
“He was turning up the wall, so I was going for the hit and he ended up falling,” Kadri said afterwards. “I mean it happened pretty quick.”
The rest is history, with Kadri tagged as a repeat offender and the incident going down as dangerous. Wingels was sent packing from the game and was being evaluated by Boston, while Kadri was given a game misconduct and hit the showers.
So thoughts now turn to the future and Game Two, which takes place on Saturday without Kadri and with some significant and necessary adjustments for the Maple Leafs. The London native scored 32 goals in the regular season and has been used in a multitude of game situations by Mike Babcock.
In practice, the coach moved Leo Komarov up from the fourth line to Zach Hyman’s spot on the top line with Auston Matthews and Marner. Hyman was put on Patrick Marleau’s wing. And so on.
Kadri will be back in time for Game Five of this series. If there is one.