Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri suspended 8 games for hit to head

Sports

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk, right, loses his stick after he was hit by Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri during the third period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in Denver. Kadri was removed from the game for the hit. Colorado won 6-3. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NEW YORK (AP) — Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri was suspended for eight games by the NHL on Friday night for a head shot on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series.

The NHL announced the punishment during Colorado’s 5-1 victory in Game 3 in St. Louis that gave the top-seeded Avalanche a 3-0 series lead.

In its video report, the NHL cited Kadri’s “substantial disciplinary history” and noted he could have taken a different angle rather than targeting the head. The league said Kadri argued he intended to deliver a full body check.

If the suspension — the sixth of Kadri’s career — is not completed during the playoffs, the remaining games will be served at the beginning of next season.

The latest suspension stemmed from clipping Faulk in the head with his right elbow midway through the third period in Game 2 on Wednesday night. Faulk left the contest, and Kadri was thrown out with a match penalty. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly called it a dangerous hit that was “completely uncalled for.”

Faulk was ruled out for Game 3.

The 30-year-old Kadri, acquired by Colorado in a deal with Toronto in July 2019, was suspended indefinitely Thursday pending a video hearing with the league’s department of player safety.

Two years ago, Kadri was suspended for the rest of the Maple Leafs’ playoff series against Boston for cross-checking, a punishment that ended up being five games.

Kadri appeared in all 56 regular-season games for the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Avalanche. He was sixth on the team in points with 11 goals and 21 assists. He also led the team in faceoff wins.

The veteran forward brings a physical edge to a speedy Colorado team. He had nine goals during the 2020 playoffs, which tied Nathan MacKinnon for most on the team.

Kadri’s roster spot will be taken by veteran forward Carl Soderberg, who was acquired from Chicago on April 12. Soderberg’s yet to play in the series.

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