1:18: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Kadri’s hearing is scheduled for Monday.
8:31: It’s not a question of if Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri will be suspended, but rather for how many games. The aggressive forward will undoubtedly miss time for his second straight postseason after cross-checking Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk in the face in last night’s chippy Game Two loss. Kadri received a major penalty and game misconduct, but the NHL Department of Player Safety was quick to announce that Kadri’s hit would be reviewed further and not via a phone hearing, but instead an in-person hearing. The date and time have yet to be revealed, but it will certainly be before the two teams square off again in Game Three on Monday night.
An in-person hearing allows for Kadri to be suspended for longer than five games, which seems like a very likely outcome in this case. In fact, the initial reaction to the hit from NBC analysts Eddie Olczyk and Keith Jones after the game was that Kadri could face upwards of ten games in this suspension. The hit in question was unquestionably egregious, after Kadri took issue with a hard but clean hit by DeBrusk on Patrick Marleau along the boards in the third period. Deep in the Bruins zone, Kadri cornered DeBrusk and delivered a cross-check right to the head area, taking DeBrusk down. It was nearly the exact same area in which Kadri intentionally boarded Bruins forward Tommy Wingels in the playoffs last year, which earned him a three-game suspension. At the time, that was Kadri’s fourth career suspension, for a total of 14 games, and his seventh punishment from Player Safety. After his eighth interaction with the Department in this upcoming hearing, it is safe to assume that the suspended games total will go up significantly. A repeat offender who has clearly not learned his lesson, Kadri seems likely to feel the full force of the Department. It is expected that they will take full advantage of the in-person hearing rule, banning Kadri for more than five games. He is unlikely to see the Bruins again this postseason and may have even played his final game already. His absence will be a big loss for the Maple Leafs.
As for DeBrusk, the response from many – especially in Toronto – has been that the Bruins forward deserves a second look of his own. Not only did DeBrusk check Marleau dangerously close to the curved-glass stanchion, but he also caught Kadri with a knee-to-knee hit earlier in the game. However, neither check was considered a penalty by the officials nor did they appear to have an intent to injure, and the expectation is that Player Safety does not have interest in further discipline for DeBrusk. In fact, the escalating aggression between Kadri and DeBrusk, which began in Game One and re-started early in Game Two, may only be used to justify keeping Kadri from a Round One return. DeBrusk’s health will also be taken into account, as the young forward did not return to the game after Kadri’s cross-check and his status is unknown for Game Three. All signs point to the tough youngster avoiding serious injury and being ready come Monday night, but his absence from the rest of the third period will be a factor in Player Safety’s decision.