BOSTON — If Nazem Kadri had a lawyer, he would be telling the Toronto Maple Leafs center to take the fifth.
As it was, Kadri did not stay silent after the Boston Bruins defeated the Leafs 5-1 in Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series at TD Garden on Thursday.
Kadri was ejected during the third period after he leveled a brutal and illegal hit on Bruins winger Tommy Wingels. Kadri received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. Wingels and Zdeno Chara had Mitch Marner sandwiched along the boards when Kadri came racing in. As Wingels began to fall while reaching for the puck, Kadri slammed Wingels’ head into the boards via a blindsided hip check.
The 27-year-old was asked about the hit, and he didn’t exactly apologize for it. In fact, he made it sound like he used the hit to exact revenge on Wingels for a hit he felt the B’s winger delivered to the head of Mitch Marner. But he did note he thought he started before Wingels began to fall.
“Well, initially I just thought (Wingels) made contact with (Mitch Marner’s) head to start,” Kadri said after the game, “and I didn’t see a call there. He was turning up the wall, so I was coming into the hit, and then he ended up falling. It happened pretty quick, and I think he was reaching for the puck. I haven’t really watched it yet, but I don’t think I stuck my leg out or my arm out. or whatever the case is, but it’s in the NHL’s hands at this point.”
That’s a pretty soft explanation for a dangerous hit.
You (or the NHL) can be the judge, but it sure looks like Kadri started after Wingels began to fall.
Kadri has been suspended three times in his career, but zero times in the last 18 months. However, the league could determine him a repeat offender and slap him with a suspension to try and curtail these kinds of hits.
Wingels stayed down on the ice after the hit before eventually getting up and heading down the tunnel. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters he still is being evaluated.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images