Looking back at Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri’s lengthy suspension history

HC at Noon speculates on how many games Nazem Kadri will be suspended, with Marc Savard saying it goes deeper than that, wondering if this selfish act will be his last game as a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Toronto Maple Leafs supporters might be disappointed that Nazem Kadri has earned yet another suspension from the NHL, but at this point they shouldn’t be all too surprised.

Kadri was suspended for the remainder of the first round Monday for cross-checking Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk in the face, the latest in a long list of dirty plays Kadri has been involved in over the years.

Kadri, who scored Toronto’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss, took exception to a hit DeBrusk threw on Patrick Marleau late in the third period of Saturday’s game. He and DeBrusk had been battling back and forth all game and both received offsetting roughing calls midway through the first period.

The 28-year-old centre was assessed a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for the crosscheck.

Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron scored while Frederik Gauthier was in the box serving Kadri’s cross-checking major.

“You have to play real hard and look after yourself, but you can’t cross the line,” Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock told reporters on a conference call Sunday.

With Kadri out of the picture, the Leafs are projected to use these forward line combos Monday at Scotiabank Arena as the series, which is tied 1-1, shifts to Toronto for Game 3:

Hyman-Tavares-Marner
Johnsson-Matthews-Kapanen
Marleau-Nylander-Brown
Ennis-Gauthier-Moore

Winger Andreas Johnsson is expected to take Kadri’s spot on the team’s power play unit, while William Nylander should slide down into the third-line centre role.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy announced Monday that DeBrusk will be good to go for Game 3.

This marks Kadri’s fifth suspension since 2013, making him one of the league’s most notorious repeat offenders.

With that in mind, here’s a chronological look back at Kadri’s lengthy history of supplemental discipline.

Nov. 14, 2013 – Suspended three games for interference

Kadri was suspended three games for running goaltender Niklas Backstrom during a road contest against the Minnesota Wild. Although it was determined there was no intent to injure, Kadri’s hit did result in the netminder sustaining a head injury. Kadri forfeited $44,615.37 in salary at the time. A lot has changed since then as Kadri, Jake Gardiner and Morgan Reilly are the only current members of the Leafs who played that night. Current Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, who was the league’s director of player safety at the time, even narrated his suspension video.

March 2015 – Team-imposed suspension

The 2014-15 campaign wasn’t great for Kadri or the Leafs. The team’s record stunk and Kadri’s numbers had dipped from his previous two seasons. When he showed up late one day to the team’s practice facility and missed a meeting, he was sent home by then-interim head coach Peter Horachek and made a healthy scratch.

A couple days later, Shanahan announced Kadri would sit an additional two games as punishment.

“We like Nazem Kadri. His teammates like him. It’s time for him to start making better decisions,” Shanahan told reporters at the time. “There comes a point where you’ve got to grow up. … We expect a certain level of professionalism. It’s time for [Kadri] to start making better decisions. There’s a history here.”

March 18, 2015 – Suspended four games for illegal hit

Kadri’s rough month continued. After returning from his team-imposed punishment, the league dinged him for this illegal check to the head of Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Fraser. It was a textbook blindside headshot and a play no longer accepted in today’s game. This hit cost him $141,463.40 in salary.

Feb. 11, 2016 – Fined for throat slash gesture

Kadri was docked $5,000 for directing “inappropriate gestures” towards Mark Giordano after he was rocked by an open-ice hit courtesy of the Calgary Flames captain. Kadri was fuming when he returned to the bench and he repeatedly told Giordano, “You’re dead,” while making a throat-slashing gesture. That’s a big no-no.

April 1, 2016 – Fined for diving/embellishment

The NHL announced Kadri had been fined $5,000 under the league’s diving/embellishment rule for several violations. His first official warning occurred Feb. 4 of that year. His second citation was from a March 12 game against the Ottawa Senators that cost $2,000 and the third was during a March 21 game against the Flames that cost him $3,000.

“I’m not really too concerned about it to be honest,” Kadri said when asked about his reputation as a diver. “It’s not going to change the way I play.”

April 4, 2016 – Suspended remainder of regular season

A few days after his diving fine, Kadri found himself in hot water yet again when he dropped Luke Glendening of the Detroit Red Wings with a retaliatory crosscheck to the face. Kadri defended his actions by saying his crosscheck “kind of rode up on his shoulder a little bit” but that didn’t stop the league from making him sit the final four games of the regular season. He also had to forfeit $200,000 in salary.

April 21, 2017 – Penalized for low-bridging Ovechkin

OK, this one didn’t end up in a suspension or fine but the reason we’ve included it here is because it was a questionable hit he was penalized for that happened to occur in the playoffs. It would seem when games are at their most intense, so is Kadri. Most of his supplemental discipline has occurred in either March or April.

April 12, 2018 – Suspended three games for boarding

One year and one day prior to his crosscheck on DeBrusk, in the exact same corner of TD Garden, Kadri earned a three-gamer for boarding Tommy Wingels in Game 1 of the Bruins-Leafs opening-round series. It was an ugly hit – somewhat similar to the one that resulted in a one-game suspension for Nikita Kucherov – and one where Wingels was lucky to avoid serious injury based on where his head was in relation to the boards.

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