Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri has been suspended eight games by the National Hockey League for his illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues defenceman Justin Faulk.
The check took place in the third period of Wednesday’s contest between the two, the second game in their first round 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Kadri was handed a match penalty and a game misconduct on the play.
The 30-year-old struck Faulk’s head with his shoulder as the blueliner was attempting a shot on goal. Faulk was slow to get up after contact but returned to the locker room. He did not return to the game and there was no immediate update after the game.
Faulk did not play in Friday’s Game Three, which Colorado won by a final score of 5-1 to take a three-game lead in the series.
Kadri, described by the league as a “player with a substantial disciplinary record,” did not play Friday. The game was counted as part of his eight-game suspension.
This marks the sixth suspension of Kadri’s career and the third in the post-season.
Kadri will have the right to appeal under the terms of the CBA, but his history is obviously guiding the hand of the league.
“The guy can’t control himself,” said Blues centre Brayden Schenn. “In the playoffs, he’s a repeat offender. Bad hits. Greasy hits. He had a guy in a vulnerable position and he picked nothing but the head.”
According to reports, Kadri had his in-person hearing via Zoom Friday. That led to the indication that any suspension would eclipse five games, which it clearly has.
According to the league, contact with the head was avoidable on the play and Kadri elevated the shoulder to make contact. Because the main point of contact was the head, any argument about intent flies out the proverbial window.
Because the league’s CBA-guided definition of a repeat offender requires suspensions to be closer together, Kadri doesn’t fit that bill exactly. But the NHL is well within its boundaries to look at historical context and assess this player as one who “repeatedly” violates league rules.