After posting a hat trick in a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series on Monday, Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri addressed racist and threatening messages he received after an incident in Game 3.
During Colorado's 5-2 Game 3 win on Saturday, Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen crashed into Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, who suffered a lower-body injury that knocked him out for the remainder of the game and the rest of the series.
Although Kadri wasn't penalized on the play or disciplined by the NHL, ESPN's Greg Wyshynski reported Sunday that the Avalanche were working with police in St. Louis to ensure Kadri's safety after he received threatening messages related to the Binnington injury.
After netting three goals in Colorado's Game 4 victory, Kadri said the following regarding the threats in an interview with TNT (h/t Wyshynski):
"Unfortunately, I've been dealing with that a long time. That's sad to say, but I'm getting good at putting in the rearview mirror. It's a big deal. I try to act like it's not. Just try to keep moving forward. I know those messages I got don't reflect every single fan in St. Louis. But for those that hate, [the hat trick was] for them."
Kadri, who is a Muslim of Lebanese descent, called the messages "hateful" and "extreme."
Despite the nature of the messages, Kadri said the St. Louis police assured him and made him feel safe ahead of Game 4.
Kadri also addressed comments made by Blues head coach Craig Berube, who said "Look at Kadri's reputation" when asked for his opinion on the play that injured Binnington.
Kadri said: "It started with their head coach, probably. He made some comments that I wasn't a fan of. I guess he's never heard of bulletin board material."
The 31-year-old Kadri has been suspended multiple times during his career for on-ice incidents, including an eight-game suspension during last season's playoffs for an illegal hit to Blues defenseman Justin Faulk's head.
Amid all of the controversy, Kadri rose to the occasion on Monday in a 6-3 win that gave the Avs a 3-1 series lead.
Kadri finished with three goals and one assist, marking the continuation of the career year he enjoyed during the regular season.
In 12 previous seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Avalanche, Kadri never posted more than 61 points during a single campaign, but he had 28 goals and 59 assists for 87 points in 71 regular-season games this season.
Kadri was one of the top performers on a team that also got huge years out of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog and others, giving the Avs the most points in the Western Conference with 119.
Now, Kadri and the Avalanche are one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals, which would mark Colorado's deepest playoff run since 2002.