The Department of Player Safety has reached a decision regarding Nazem Kadri and the Colorado Avalanche forward will not be available to the team for a while. Kadri has been issued an eight-game suspension for his hit on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk. As the accompanying video explains:
It is important to note that while we accept Kadri’s arguement that he was attempting to deliver a full body check, the head was the main point of contact on this hit. While Kadri does make some contact with Faulk’s right shoulder and chest, the brunt of this impact is absorbed by the head of Faulk.
Kadri, 30, had already been suspended five times in his career before this incident, which occurred on Wednesday night in game two of the first-round series between the Avalanche and Blues. A five-minute major was assessed and Kadri was given a match penalty, which initiates an automatic review from the league. Faulk, who was immediately taken from the game, will not play in game three tonight but head coach Craig Berube did tell reporters including Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic there is a “chance” he returns at some point in this series.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong spoke with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and indicated that though he doesn’t believe the time is now, a meaningful discussion about the state of player safety in the league needs to be had. He pointed directly to the hit on Robert Bortuzzo which also caused an injury but did not receive any supplementary discipline. Armstrong “isn’t looking to make headlines” according to LeBrun, but is “genuinely concerned.”
Kadri meanwhile will be replaced in the Avalanche lineup by Carl Soderberg for tonight’s game, a trade deadline acquisition that has played just 11 games since returning to the organization. Though Colorado has a stranglehold on the series after outscoring the Blues 10-4 in the first two games (both Avalanche wins), Kadri’s absence will be significant. The veteran center recorded 32 points in 56 games this season, averaging more than 16 minutes a night. Only Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen logged more powerplay time among Avalanche forwards.
In 2013, Kadri was suspended three games for interference. In 2015, he was given a four-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Matt Fraser. In 2016, he was suspended the final four games of the regular season for a cross-check to the face of Luke Glendening. In the 2018 playoffs he received a three-game suspension for boarding Tommy Wingels. The following year he was suspended in the playoffs again, this time for the remainder of the first round (five games) for a cross-check on Jake Debrusk.