Avalanche’s Kadri receives threats after collision with Blues’ Binnington

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The Colorado Avalanche say forward Nazem Kadri received threats after his collision that injured St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series Saturday night.

The team said in a statement that it was “working with local law enforcement to investigate.”

Former player Akim Aliu said on Twitter earlier on Sunday that he had spoken with Kadri.

“Naz has been the subject of so many racist attacks and threats since last night that the police had to be brought in,” said Aliu, who is Nigerian-Canadian. “Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported.”

In Saturday night’s 5-2 win, Kadri’s collision with Blues defender Calle Rosen ended with him in the lap of Binnington, who left the game in the first half with a bottom injury. of the body and is now out of the playoffs.

Binnington was the most likely candidate among those who could have thrown a water bottle in Kadri’s direction as he was doing a post-match interview on camera.

This water bottle thrown at Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri barely came out of nowhere.

For two consecutive postseasons, Kadri has been the agitator that drives Colorado forward and the pest that drives the Blues crazy.

The controversial collision, the water bottle, the series-ending injury to Binnington — it all comes almost exactly 52 weeks after Kadri’s hit on Justin Faulk, which missed the rest of that playoff series and resulted in a suspension of eight games for Kadri.

There is no love lost in St. Louis for Kadri.

“Look at Kadri’s reputation,” said Blues coach Craig Berube, whose team trailed the second-round series 2-1. “That’s all I have to say.”

The Blues turned the page on Sunday after learning Binnington was finished for the series and goaltender Charlie Lindgren was recalled from the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds “under emergency conditions.” Ville Husso stepped in after Binnington left.

“You don’t just focus on him,” Blues center Brayden Schenn said of Kadri. “You focus on going out there and winning a hockey game. That’s all you can control.”

Kadri has been on his best behavior all season and in the playoffs. Maybe even to the point of avoiding games that might get him in trouble given his past.

“Look, reputation means nothing: either it’s legal play or it’s not,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, whose team lost defenseman Samuel Girard. [broken sternum] for the playoffs on a check from Ivan Barbashev in the boards. “We talked about it with Naz and how he’s trying to change his reputation, making sure he’s playing chess. … They’re both going after the puck the same way. They collide. Again , unhappy.”

On the ice, Kadri brings a physical presence to a speedy Avalanche formation. He plays with an advantage that has gotten him in hot water at times.

Last season, Kadri landed a blow to the head of Faulk in Game 2. Kadri missed the last two games as Colorado swept the Blues, then the entire Vegas series, where Colorado was eliminated in six matches.

That success, missing out on a physical Vegas streak, led to sleepless nights for Kadri. He addressed the situation in an essay recently published in the Players’ Tribune entitled “I Am Who I Am”.

“I hate letting people down, really. And when I looked up from the mirror and saw Justin laying there, I knew what was coming. I knew,” Kadri wrote. “It was a bang-bang play and I made a mistake. I’m never trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I know people might not want to hear any of this, or they have already made a decision about me. I get that.”

Fair or unfair, Saturday’s incident becomes the final chapter. On TNT, longtime NHL referee Don Koharski called it a game of hockey.

Nazem Kadri (91) collides with Jordan Binnington in Game 3 on Saturday night. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

St. Louis fans certainly disagreed, booing Kadri every time he touched the puck. There could be even more venom in Game 4 on Monday night; Robert Bortuzzo of the Blues, when asked about the Binnington collision, said only that “a guy like that knows what he’s doing there”.

“I just try to go out there and try to win and compete,” said Kadri, who was momentarily distracted by the water bottle thrown in his direction during the interview and indicated that it may have come from Binnington. “If people take it personally, it’s on them. For me, what happens on the ice kind of stays on the ice. I am a competitor. I want to win and that’s it.

The Nashville players tried to agitate Kadri during Colorado’s first-round sweep. In Game 1, the Predators pushed him from behind late in the second period. Kadri stood up furious and ready to face off. Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson took the fight for himself, firing a hard shot.

“I’m not going to let them interfere against Naz,” Manson explained. “I don’t want to see a guy let go of his gloves against Naz and Naz has to fight him in the playoffs.”

Especially given his playoff record. While in Toronto, he was suspended the remainder of the first round in 2019 for cross-checking, which turned out to be five games, and three games for boarding in 2018. The Maple Leafs sent him to Colorado in the summer of 2019.

This season, he’s been an integral part of a Stanley Cup favorite. Kadri led the Avalanche with 59 assists in the regular season and scored 28 goals.

“He’s been a great player for us all year,” Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor said. “Obviously there’s some animosity between the Blues fan base, and maybe the team, and him. He definitely elevates his games in those environments. He kind of relishes that.”

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