Kadri has Canucks on the edge over hit
Centre calls it ‘a reaction play,’ Vancouver says Leaf could have avoided Sedin
Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri isn’t looking at his team’s game in Vancouver on Dec. 3 with any concerns about retaliation, at least not yet.
The two clubs face each other next month with the promise of repercussions from Saturday’s fight-filled Leafs win over the Canucks at the Air Canada Centre.
“I’m not thinking of that, there’s a few games on the schedule first,” said Kadri, who drew the ire of the Canucks for his hit on Daniel Sedin.
“I’m not looking that far ahead,” Kadri said Monday. “If I get booed, that doesn’t bother me. I want to keep playing my game and keep playing with an edge.”
The Canucks measured their responses Sunday when the NHL player safety department opted against any discipline for Kadri, but they were angry with the decision, believing the Leafs centre should have received some form of punishment for what they felt was a blindside hit on Sedin.
The Canucks star collapsed immediately and his head bounced dangerously off the ice surface. Sedin was shaken, but returned to finish the game.
The hit occurred with a little more than six minutes gone in the third period, and the Leafs up by four goals. Four fights erupted over the next eight minutes, with 157 penalty minutes being issued.
“I saw him come across the middle . . . I was trying to finish my check,” said Kadri, who has been suspended three times in his career for dangerous hits.
“I was happy to see him get back up.”
Kadri felt the NHL was correct in deciding against a suspension. The Canucks noted the league’s language last season regarding blindside hits was focused on hits to the head, and the ruling after Saturday’s incident indicated Kadri did not deliver a hit to Sedin’s head.
“You don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Kadri said. “I felt it was a shoulder-on-shoulder hit, and I’m happy the league felt the same way. I don’t know if you do it any differently. It’s a fast game, it’s a reaction play, it happens. I felt it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.”
Canucks general manager Jim Benning accepted the NHL’s ruling, but not before arguing the case for a suspension Sunday morning.
“We’re lucky because the way (Sedin) fell, he could have been injured for a long time,” Benning told the Vancouver Province. “The ruling we got is that it wasn’t a late hit and from their (league’s) perspective, it wasn’t a hit to the head. But it was a player (Kadri) who could have held back from making that type of hit. We’ll have to live with it.”
Benning’s club continued to deal with bad news in the fallout from Saturday’s game. Forward Jannik Hansen suffered an undisclosed injury fighting Kadri in retaliation for the Sedin hit. Vancouver recalled forward Michael Chaput from Utica of the AHL Monday to fill out the roster.
Leafs forward Matt Martin, meanwhile, was threatened by Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson after fighting rookie Troy Stecher during the rash of skirmishes in the third period Saturday.
“I guess I walk a line a lot with the way I play,” Martin said. “Some like it, some don’t. As long as the people who are close to me do, I’m fine.”
Nazem Kadri, left, had the Canucks chasing him Saturday after what he called a “shoulder-to-shoulder hit” on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.