Nazem Kadri started Wednesday’s tilt between the Leafs and Wild with a bang, and an inappropriate one at that. It’s hard to fathom a crisper, more obviously dirty example of goalie interference in recent memory.
Kadri absolutely erases Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom here:
I thought Backstrom was embellishing at first, but a second look confirms he hits the ice violently. He stayed in the game until a TV timeout, but couldn’t shake off the hit and departed.
There are concerning implications for both teams here. The Wild were resting goaltender Josh Harding, who is having a phenomenal season, because he was ill. Normally, it’s not the end of the world if a sick goalie has to enter a game, but rest is especially important for Harding as someone admirably battling multiple sclerosis. Minnesota needs to keep Harding’s workload in check. Another Darcy Kuemper call-up is imminent if Backstrom misses time.
Secondly, the NHL is likely to review Kadri’s hit. He made no effort to get out of the way and his elbow connected with Backstrom’s head. For a Toronto team already missing Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland, two of its top three centers, losing Kadri would be disastrous.
Shades of Milan Lucic on Ryan Miller here. Especially because the Wild didn’t retaliate at all. The product of a very young team and a reformed Matt Cooke?