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Kadri suspended for 8 games.

During game three of their first-round matchup with the St Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche learned that Nazem Kadri had been suspended for 8 games. During the second game of this series, Kadri blindsided Blues’ Defenseman, Justin Faulk. Kadri’s hit left Faulk lying on the ice dazed and confused.

While 8 games may seem like a lot, in this case, it is severely lacking. Kadri has been suspended 4 times previously, including during two playoffs, 2018 and 2019. Kadri’s hit to Faulk was avoidable, an attempt to injure, and just plain ugly.

The Department of Player Safety (DOPS) does it again. In an earlier story, I talked about how broken the DOPS is and three ways to fix it. The DOPS or DOP(E)S as I call them have shown their true colors again.

First, earlier in game two, Robert Bortuzzo was hit in the head by Tyson Jost’s elbow. Player safety reviewed the hit and said it did not warrant further action. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic released a tweet stating, “There will be no hearing for Jost’s elbow on Bortuzzo.” It continued “The belief was that Jost was almost acting defensively, readying himself for contact from Bortuzzo. When evaluating the act (which is the hit itself, not the injury), the conclusion was it didn’t rise to suspension level.”

At first glance, you can understand why the DOPS made this decision. Bortuzzo was lining Jost up for a hit and Jost could have been in a defensive poster. Ok, I get that. But let us look at the hit.

The Twitter Account @HeresYourReplay took a clip from Bally Sports Midwest and focused on the hit. You can clearly see Jost loads up his elbow. He brings his shoulder into his body, and with what appears to be maximum force, swings his elbow into Bortuzzo’s face. No call was made, and Bortuzzo left the game and has not returned to the ice since.

While I understand where the DOPS was going with this, let us pull back to the 5,000’ level and look at the hit. First and foremost, this is elbowing, which is a penalty and can warrant supplementary discipline. Jost should have at least received the Maximum fine allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Second, this is the second time this season Bortuzzo has been knocked out of a game by a questionable hit and no secondary discipline was awarded. This was covered by the St. Louis Fan Report here. What makes this matter a little more suspicious, the team that knocked Bortuzzo out for 20 games, was the Avalanche.

The third part of this is what makes the DOPS decision even more questionable. Bortuzzo is a repeat offender. He has been suspended at least twice for infractions. The message the DOP(E)S are sending is this. If we have suspended you, you are fair game. That is contrary to what the DOPS is supposed to stand for.

What we just covered was the non-call. Now let us look at the Kadri hit on Faulk and how it will affect both teams going forward.

The Blues

hit on Brotuzzo

Hit on Botuzzo

The Blues have lost their best defenseman for the foreseeable future. Faulk likely has a concussion. He stated to the trainers he did not know what had happened. His exit along with the loss of Bortuzzo earlier in the game leaves the Blues with only four experienced defensemen. Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Marco Scandella, and Steven Santini, who in six seasons has never played in a playoff game till last night.

The Blues Season is likely over. After a 5-1 loss on home ice, the Blues find themselves in a 0-3 hole. Only four teams in NHL history have come back from that deficit. The last to do it was the Los Angeles Kings during the first round of the 2014 playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.

Knowing what we know about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and concussions, the long-term effects are not yet known.

The Avalanche

mile high hockey

mile high hockey

With the eight-game suspension to Kadri, the Avalanche lose a second-line center who played in 56 games and amassed 32 points, a minus -7 and 34 penalty minutes. Kadri is just a big body that scores every now and then. His .6 points per game will not be missed. Kadri has one assist and is a minus -1 in two playoff games this season.

The loss of Kadri is like a pimple on the middle of your forehead. It is annoying but you can get by, and it will be gone soon.

This is just one more example of the DOP(e)S not getting it.  Colorado traded for Kadri, after his fourth suspension. They knew what they were getting. They wanted his toughness. In the 2019 second-round playoff the San Jose Sharks were able to best the Avalanche in a controversial 7 game series. The Avs were ready to take the next step and get tougher.

The Avalanche will not miss a beat and are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season.  The Kadri suspension is just a bump in the road. Teams will keep signing players like this and these types of hits and injuries will keep happening. Tom Wilson is a case in point.

It is time to start punishing teams for these types of hits. One way to do this is to also suspend a player of equal talent to the injured player.  For example, Faulk is a top defenseman, so either Cale Makar or Ryan Graves should also be suspended for the same 8 games.

I know that might seem extreme, but the dirty hits are also just as potent, and they need to be gone from the game.

The recent incidents and the outcry from both players and fans means this is the right time to fix this. I am not sure the league is hearing this but the deaf ear they are turning should be ringing also.

Till next time hockey fans.

Guy “Hawaii Blues Fan” Bensing




BlueNote Fan Report