Nazem Kadri is slowly building a reputation. Whether it’s a good or bad one is open to interpretation, but he’s consistent with one thing that keeps me in business: questionable hits.
The latest incident comes from a recent game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Kadri had scored the tying goal at 4:08 of a tight checking second period before Nikolaj Ehlers tipped in a Josh Morrisey shot at 2:36 to restore the lead for the Jets.
Less than two minutes later with Ehlers in the box, Leo Komarov tied it again off a nice feed from William Nylander.
Just seconds after play resumed, Ben Chiarot got the puck in the neutral zone and turned away from
one checker. Kadri lined Chiarot up from his own blue line and held nothing back as he launched himself upward and outward into the Winnipeg blueliner with what looked like a flying forearm.
Once again people are left trying to figure out whether there was a sniff of head contact or not. Once again I say why wait for head contact in an effort to prevent it?
Kadri does make a clear play on the puck and tries to finish the check after the fact. But he combines leaving his feet with holding his arm up high, making this hit unnecessarily dangerous.
I know there’s a charging penalty to punish leaving the feet without a suspension, but if you’re going to regularly suspend a low clean hit just because it happens to hit the head, shouldn’t you suspend (by charging rule) a not so clean high hit that always increases the likelihood of significant head contact?
A lot of people, including the Winnipeg Jets and myself, felt Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins should have been suspended for his high hit last week on the Jets’ Blake Wheeler. He left his feet and made head contact.
The hits are similar but I think Kadri’s is worse because of the arm being held high. MThe only reason there wasn’t significant head contact here like there was against Wheeler is that Chiarot saw the hit coming and stood up taller to protect himself. If he hadn’t done that, the angle of approach from Kadri and the lack of control he had in the motion of hitting wouldn’t possibly result in anything other than a direct head blow.
The actions of Chiarot minimized the danger. The actions of Kadri are the only reasons there was danger in the first place.