The St. Louis Blues have called on the NHL to suspend Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri after his free kick against defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night.
At 6 minutes, 30 seconds into the third period, Faulk threw a shot at the Avalanche goal from the slot machine area. Kadri cut past Faulk for a hit and appeared to make primary contact with the defender’s header.
The referees reviewed the game and imposed a major penalty of five minutes and a match penalty for an illegal header failure. Faulk did not return to the match, which the Blues lost 6-3 to go 0-2 in the series.
“It’s a very dangerous shot. It must be a suspension,” said Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly. “He’s a repeat offender. It’s completely out of place. It’s horrible to see.”
Kadri has been banned five times by the NHL since 2013, including two in the playoffs with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In April 2018, he was suspended for three playoff games for boarding Tommy Wingels of the Boston Bruins. In April 2019, he was given a five-game suspension for a counter-check at the head of Jake DeBrusk of the Bruins. He was previously suspended for an illegal header check in 2015, for injuring Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Fraser.
“The guy can’t control himself,” said Blues center Brayden Schenn, who scored the Blues’ only goal on the five-minute power play. “In the playoffs he’s a repeat offender. Bad shots. Fat shots. He had a guy in a vulnerable position and he only picked the lead.”
Schenn likened the blow to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson to Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist, which led to Wilson getting a 20-game NHL suspension.
“Hopefully the league will take care of that,” Schenn said.
When asked about the shot, Colorado coach Jared Bednar noted that it was a five-minute major penalty but he didn’t see all angles of the shot.
“The league is going to review it, so who knows?” Bednar said. “It is sometimes hard to understand why the league suspends guys and what they don’t do. We’ll see what they come back with.”
At the end of the game, the Blues were missing two defensemen: Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo, who left the game at 9:24 of the second period after appearing to take an elbow from Colorado forward Tyson Jost.
âIt’s a greasy elbow from Josty over there. I understand he’s going into battle, but you have to know how to control your elbows and not put it in the D-man’s face,â Schenn said. “That’s a pretty disgusting elbow.”
The third game is back in Saint-Louis on Friday night.