Nazem Kadri’s days as a healthy scratch will continue.
The Toronto Maple Leafs centre will sit the next two games, team president Brendan Shanahan told reporters at Wednesday’s morning skate during an impromptu scrum.
The 24-year-old forward, who will become a restricted free agent on July 1, was also sat during Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders after showing up 20 minutes late to Sunday’s practice.
Kadri, who wants to be a No. 1 centre, carries a $2.9-million salary cap hit and is expected to be seeking a raise heading into 2015-16.
“We like Nazem Kadri. His teammates like him,” Shanahan told reporters. “It’s time for him to start making better decisions.
“There comes a point where you’ve got to grow up.
“The easiest thing for us to do at this point would be to sweep this under the rug,” said Shanahan, who cited a history of poor decision-making but did not provide examples.
Kadri scored 20 goals for the first time in 2013-14 and has followed up with 16 goals and 20 assists through 64 games this season. Shanahan said Kadri was disappointed by the news but understood why he was being scratched.
If all goes well, Shanahan said, Kadri will be available for the Maple Leafs’ road game in Vancouver on Saturday.
The three-game benching was a joint decision made after a discussion between Shanahan, general manager Dave Nonis and the Maple Leafs coaching staff.
“We expect a certain level of professionalism. It’s time for [Kadri] to start making better decisions,” Shanahan said. “There’s a history here.”
If this was a one-time incident, Shanahan explained, the team would have handled it internally. The president also stressed that Kadri is an important part of the club’s future.
“This is a moment,” Shanahan said, “when a player has to look in the mirror and make some decisions.”
Kadri did not speak to the media Wednesday.