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.

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