Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri Suspended for Rest of Bruins Series After Cross-Check

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2019

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs has words with Matt Martin #17 of the New York Islanders during the second period at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on April 01, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has been suspended the rest of the first round after his cross-check against Jake DeBrusk of the Boston Bruins in Game 2, according to the NHL Player Safety account.

Kadri already received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his hit to the face, but the league felt additional suspension was necessary.

"This is not a hockey play," the league explained in a video. "Instead, this is a player retaliating against an opponent by using his stick as a weapon to make forceful and direct head contact."

The incident came directly after DeBrusk hit Patrick Marleau into the boards, so Kadri's intent was pretty clear.

"It looked like a cross-check to the face," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game, per Emily Kaplan of ESPN. "I assume it'll be dealt with, or looked at, and we'll go from there."

The 28-year-old was also suspended three games in the playoffs last year for a hit on a Boston player, that time against Tommy Wingels. The center has been suspended three other times in his career, with the others coming in the regular season.

His history and the severity of the hit likely contributed to the length of suspension.

Boston won Game 2 Saturday, and the series is now tied at 1-1 heading into Game 3 Monday night.

While the Maple Leafs were already underdogs in the first-round battle, it will be even harder to pull off an upset without a key player who tallied 44 points this season, tied for fifth on the team.

Kadri also has a goal and an assist in two games so far this postseason.

The pressure will now be on Marleau and others to pick up the slack in the third line for the rest of the series.

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