You're never going to believe this, but Nazem Kadri was suspended Thursday for the forearm to the head he delivered to Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom the evening prior. Who saw that coming?
The Leafs will be without the center for three games, as per Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety:
I'm impressed at the effort that went into this video. It's not that it's somehow beyond all the other videos we've seen, although it is very in-depth -- it's just that I partly expected this one to be little more than a bewildered and exhausted Shanahan smoking a cigarette in a half-lit room, his sleeves rolled unevenly, looking into the camera and saying something like, "Wednesday night there was an incident… I don't even… I mean, why would you… god, just… three games for Kadri. Guys, don't do this. I can't believe I even have to tell you that you can't do this. Just… smarten up. I'm tired."
Instead, we get an actual explanation of what Kadri did wrong, as if we needed one beyond the video's first sentence: "Nazem Kadri recklessly collided with Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom, delivering a forceful blow to the head that caused an injury."
That alone is enough for three games, although it sounds like it would have been more if the Department hadn't bought into Kadri's defence that this was a truly unintentional collision. "As Kadri stated during his hearing, he should have been more aware of the impending collision," Shanahan says, and then goes on to list the reasons he believes Kadri was not headhunting:
Kadri was watching Lupul, for one, and the forearm shiver he appears to throw actually happens after contact.
Still, while that's enough to get this down to three games (along with Kadri's lack of a discipline history), you simply have to pay more attention, and if no one is steering you into the goaltender, you can't run him over like that without consequence. The consequence, as we now know, is three games.
Anyway. If you play center, now's a good time to go to the Air Canada Centre and tell somebody.