The Colorado Avalanche face a tough task with Nazem Kadri set to miss the next seven games after the NHL's Department of Player Safety handed the forward an eight-game suspension for his hit on St. Louis Blues defenceman Justin Faulk.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said he was caught off guard by the number of games he received as he doesn't believe Kadri is a repeat offender since his last suspension came back in 2019.
“They lay out the rules of what’s a repeat offender and in my understanding, it’s 18 months,” Bednar said. “So you watch the video and they talk about him being a repeat offender, but he’s not. He’s been with us for 18 months and he doesn’t have any history.
"So I don't necessarily understand it."
The incident occurred Wednesday night in the third period of Game 2 of the first-round series between the Avalanche and Blues when Kadri struck Faulk's head with his shoulder as Faulk was attempting to take a shot on goal.
Faulk did not return to the game and was not in the lineup for Game 3 after suffering an upper-body injury. Blues coach Craig Berube said there is a chance Faulk could return in the series.
On top of Kadri being labelled a repeat offender, Bednar didn't agree with the eight games because suspensions in the playoffs are usually weighted differently.
"The eight games, I'm a little surprised, to be honest with you," said Bednar. "I looked through all the head-shot suspensions for the last year. A lot of two-gamers get handed out that were significant hits to the head. We've had some guys put out with hits to the head that you know are still out with no suspension and two games.
"So I thought, generally the rule of thumb, in playoffs, you get a little less, and he got significantly more, so it is what it is, we have to deal with it, and we need other guys to step up and I'm not [going to] worry about it past today. We have to live with the decisions they make and they make them for a reason. We don't always have to agree when it's their decision and you've got to live with it. He put himself in a bad spot on the hit and now he has to sit for a while, we've got other guys who can step up in order to win hockey games."
J.T. Compher took Kadri's spot on the second line with Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi as the Avalanche beat the Blues 5-1 in Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead.