The St. Louis Blues say Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri should be suspended for an illegal hit that knocked defenseman Justin Faulk out of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss in Game 2 of their Western Division playoff series.
Faulk was hit in the head by Kadri early in the third period, resulting in a major and a match penalty for Kadri.
That wasn’t enough for Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly.
“That’s a very dangerous hit. It’s gotta be a suspension,” O’Reilly said. “He’s a repeat offender. It’s completely uncalled for.”
“The guy can’t control himself,” Blues center Brayden Schenn said. “In the playoffs, he’s a repeat offender. Bad hits, greasy hits — he had a guy in a vulnerable position and he picked nothing but the head.”
The NHL Department of Player Safety said Kadri has been offered an in-person hearing via Zoom. The date and time for the hearing is to be determined.
Kadri, 30, has been suspended five times in his career, including twice in the playoffs while with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was hit with a three-game ban in 2018 and then was barred for five games in 2019, both in first-round series against the Boston Bruins.
According to the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, a player is considered a repeat offender for 18 months after his most recent incident that prompted a suspension. However, that only comes into play when deciphering how much money the player could be fined. Any previous predatory acts regardless of timeframe could be considered.
The NHL Department of Player Safety has fallen under scrutiny recently when it opted not to suspend Washington Capitals repeat offender Tom Wilson for his role in a melee against the New York Rangers in which he punched Pavel Buchnevich’s head into the ice before slamming a helmetless Artemi Panarin down to the playing surface.
The Avalanche, Blues series continues Friday night in St. Louis with the Avalanche leading 2-0, but Kadri’s match penalty will require the NHL to review the play.
“The league will look at it, and then who knows?” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s hard to sometimes figure out what the league suspends guys for and what they don’t. We’ll see what they come back with.”