Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri has had his eight-game suspension upheld by an independent arbitrator according to Daren Drager of TSN and Emily Kaplan of ESPN. The suspension stems from a dangerous hit Kadri delivered to Justin Faulk of the St. Louis Blues earlier in the playoffs.
Kadri and the NHLPA appealed the length of the suspension as they deemed it “excessive” and unprecedented, despite Kadri’s long history of supplemental discipline. The NHLPA argued that four playoff games would have been a sufficient penalty for Kadri.
The decision was made by made by Shyam Das, a neutral arbitrator independent from the NHL. Kadri has been suspended 6 times in his career, including three of the last four postseasons. Das is the same arbitrator who reduced Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s suspension from 20 to 14 games in 2018 for a preseason hit on Oskar Sundqvist. He is also the same arbitrator who overturned Ryan Braun’s suspension for PEDs. MLB fired Das after his decision.
The ruling means that Kadri will have to serve two more games and will be eligible to return for Game 7 of the second round against the Vegas Golden Knights - if the series gets that far.
The Avalanche have struggled mightily over the past two and a half games against Vegas and the loss of their second line center is a big reason why. Kadri’s absence has allowed the top line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stevenson to completely focus on defense because the misfits line (Marchessault, Smith and Karlsson) is able to run roughshod over Colorado’s makeshift second line.
The Avalanche will need to win one more game if we are going to see Kadri again this season - something they hope to do tonight as they host the Golden Knights in Game 5 at Ball Arena.