The Leafs lost to the Minnesota Wild in a shootout last night in a game they frankly didn’t deserve to win. They were thoroughly outplayed by the Wild and needed another outstanding performance from Jonathan Bernier to grab the one point on the road.
They still found themselves up 1-0 until late in the third period when a giveaway by Phil Kessel in the Leafs’ end turned into a Wild goal off Kessel’s skate. Then in overtime, Morgan Rielly drove to the net hard, tipping a nice pass from Joffrey Lupul right in front of the goal, but Wild goalie Josh Harding just got enough of the puck and was able to scoop it up before it rolled into the back of the net.
It was an entertaining game, but most of the fun has been overshadowed by two questionable hits by Nazem Kadri today. The first was a collision with the Wild’s starting goalie Niklas Backstrom, when Kadri appeared to make no effort to get out of the way and instead bowled over Backstrom at the top of his crease. Kadri’s forearm collided with Backstrom’s head, and he suffered a concussion. He left the game a few minutes later and was replaced by Harding.
Kadri was only assessed a two-minute penalty for that careless and dangerous play, but didn’t get off so lucky the second time around. About midway through the second period, Kadri hit Mikael Granlund shoulder-to-shoulder, but his forearm extended and caught Granlund in the head. Granlund was in a vulnerable position with his head down, but it was still an avoidable hit on Kadri’s part. Kadri received a five-minute match penalty, which carries an automatic ejection.
The NHL announced that Kadri would have a phone hearing with the department of player safety at 1 p.m. today. Common wisdom seems to suggest Kadri will be in line for a two-game suspension, which is obviously bad news for a team already missing Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak down the middle. Director of player safety Brendan Shanahan will likely have a video up announcing and explaining his ruling on the NHL’s website later this afternoon. Here are some links to enjoy while we wait for the proverbial gavel to fall:
Yeah, I think it’s pretty much a given at this point. Welcome back to the NHL, Trevor Smith! From Cam Charron of The LeafsNation.
According to this piece, Kadri will only face supplemental discipline for the Backstrom hit, but not the Granlund one. From the CBC via Yahoo Sports.
I think dominating the Leafs to the tune of a 76.7 five-on-five close corsi-for percentage was the only response they needed. From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Pretty cool that Jake Gardiner was able to play his first NHL game in front of friends and family in his home state last night. From Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
The good folks over at Bonk’s Mullet break down the much-publicized Twitter beef from yesterday.