Although it was a check to the head of Mikael Granlund that got Leafs forward Nazem Kadri ejected from Wednesday’s 2-1 Toronto loss in Minnesota, an earlier, now infamous, play is the subject of a disciplinary review that will take place at 1pm this afternoon.
In the first period, Kadri knocked out Wild starting goalie Niklas Backstrom. The ensuing collision forced Backstrom from the game, with Josh Harding – who had been relegated to backup because he was feeling ‘under the weather’ – coming on in relief.
As seen in the video below, it doesn’t appear that Kadri makes any attempt whatsoever to avoid Backstrom, who is entitled to the blue paint area in the crease:
Kadri is generally not a dirty player by nature, and more than a few critics took to social media to defend the Leafs centre, saying that the hit was accidental. While there may be some truth to that element, it is still the player’s responsibility to be aware of where he is on the ice, particularly around the crease area.
My personal favourite analogy comes from the 1996 playoffs where Toronto’s Nick Kypreos bowled over St Louis netminder Grant Fuhr, ultimately ending the goalie’s season. No one is saying that Kypreos meant to chase Fuhr from the series. But one observer put forth the following question: “If Kypreos was falling towards a pit of snakes, instead of an opposing goalie, could he have avoided Fuhr?”
The prediction is that Kadri gets two games. Leafs fans may be in an uproar, citing precedent in similar situations against the team – such as the Habs’ Brian Gionta’s collision with James Reimer in 2011 that went unpunished.
Unfortunately, it’s like the guy who gets caught in a speed trap and pleads “But ten other guys in front of me were also going just as fast.” To which the cop replies “Yeah, but you are the one I caught.”
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