Don Cherry says the Toronto Maple Leafs have humiliated and embarrassed Nazem Kadri.
Appearing on Coach’s Corner with Ron MacLean, Cherry came to the defence of the Maple Leafs forward after he received a team-imposed three-game suspension earlier in the week. Kadri became the subject of criticism after he was late for a team meeting this past Sunday.
Cherry was insistent that the Maple Leafs have completely botched the handling of Kadri and the 24-year-old will want to leave Toronto at the first chance he gets.
“The kid is not going to be here in two years,” Cherry proclaimed. “He’d would be nuts. He’s been called all kinds of name since he came (to Toronto). The day he becomes (an) unrestricted (free agent), he’ll be gone. (Toronto) better trade him. If anyone stays here after what he’s been through — humiliation — then he has no pride.”
“There’s been a cloud over this kid ever since he’s 18-years-old,” Cherry said. “I remember his very first training camp he led the team in goals, assists, and they said he couldn’t play defence. He’s been ridiculed and humiliated.”
Cherry also took issue with interim head coach Peter Horachek. He said it’s not the first time he’s mishandled a player and pointed back to when Horachek was part of Barry Trotz’s staff with the Nashville Pedators. That team benched forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for violating team rules during a 2012 playoff series against the Arizona Coyotes.
“He was the assistant (coach) when they benched the two Russians (with the Nashville Predators),” Cherry said. “They were up 3-2 (in the playoff series). Then they bench the Russians and they lose both games. That worked out good.”
Kadri is in the final season of his two-year contract and will become a restricted free agent following the 2014-15 season.