Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has a reputation as a diver, embellisher, or whatever you want to call the task of soccer on ice.
There’s no avoiding it. The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the most prolific poster-children for diving in the NHL. Reputation is everything, and Kadri’s isn’t good.
After being cited, fined $2,000 and fined $3,000, there’s no denying that it’s happened. It’s well documented – and that’s something that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has to be aware of.
Kadri’s fine-free citation came on February 4th against the New Jersey Devils. He wasn’t called for an in-game embellishment, but it was reviewed by the league and deemed that an Oscar-worthy performance had happened.
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The referee’s for the game were Francois St. Laurent and Steve Kozari.
March 12th, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri drew a tripping call that went to Zack Smith of the Ottawa Senators. No embellishment call again for Kadri, but it was later deemed by the league that Kadri had won his second Oscar of the season. A $2,000 fine would follow.
The referee’s for the Ottawa game were TJ Luxmore and Dean Morton.
On March 21st, Nazem Kadri would finally receive an in-game call. Facing the Calgary Flames, Kadri was penalized for embellishment against Josh Jooris. This would cost Kadri $3,000 as his third embellishment/diving offence on the season.
Unfortunately for Kadri, that game featured Evgeny Romasko, one of the most feared diving/embellishment sheriff’s in the entire NHL. Dan O’Halloran was the other referee.
Romasko is in the top-four club for referee’s with the most on-ice embellishment/diving calls from 2015-2016 – and he was refereeing a game involving Nazem Kadri, who had already pulled the wool over Kozari and Morton, two of the other three members of the top-four club for diving/embellishment calls.
It’s clear that some referee’s are going to call diver’s more often than others. When Kadri evades detection on two of the top four dive-calling ref’s – and gets caught by another one – he’s not helping himself any for the 2016-2017 season. He’s also not helping the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kadri is on the referee radar. More concerning, he’s at the top of the list for the most embellishment-hungry referees.
I like to think that the referee’s the NHL employs are impartial, but, let’s be honest here, no one likes being tricked. That’s exactly what Kadri did to Kozari and Morton in-game. That won’t be forgotten, and it will be shared among referee peers. Kadri is going to have to either quit diving, or be very aware of who is calling the game and what their tendencies are for 2016-2017.