Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri received a three-game suspension last season for a questionable playoff hit against the Boston Bruins.
He is looking at an even longer suspension when the league’s Department of Player Safety offered him an in-person hearing after another questionable hit against the Bruins on Saturday night. Players get offered that if the suspension could top five games.
Kadri received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking Boston’s Jake DeBrusk during the 4-1 Bruins win that tied the series 1-1.
DeBrusk had just hit Toronto’s Patrick Marleau hard into the boards and was standing near the boards when Kadri hit him in the face with his stick, knocking DeBrusk to the ice. The Bruins forward didn’t return to the game.
Kadri has been suspended four times in his career, the latest for boarding then-Boston forward Tommy Wingels in Game 1 of last year’s first-round series.
Kadri and DeBrusk had other incidents in Game 2. They got roughing minors and later DeBrusk forced Kadri out of the game briefly with an unpenalized knee-on-knee hit.
Kadri returned to the game and scored the Maple Leafs’ lone goal.
But the severity of his hit, plus the previous suspensions, mean it could be a long time before he returns to the series.
“It was a physical game, the referees, the way they reffed the game let a lot of stuff go, obviously,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock told reporters, adding that he didn’t see the play. “In the end, you can’t let that get in the way of what you’re doing.”