Kadri suspension? DeBrusk concussion? Casualties of a physical Game 2
When you hear that one single player had 19 penalty minutes, cross checked a player in the face and has already has been offered an in-person hearing for his actions in Saturday’s Game 2 at TD Garden, you’re probably thinking to yourself “what did Brad Marchand do now?”
This time however, it wasn’t Marchand but instead, it was Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri.
But that probably won’t shock you, either.
After the Maple Leafs came out in Game 1 and took a page out of the Bruins book by being the more physical team, the Bruins made it clear they wanted to come out and put a body on everything that moved.
They did just that.
“We knew that we didn’t play to our identity in Game 1. We’re aware of it and we want to move past it and have a good response game,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“How do you respond? You’re physical, win the puck battles, control momentum in the first period, attack when you have the chance, puck possession. We had a lot of check lists. Basically, let them know how we’re going to play and kind of tilt it in our favor after that.”
The Bruins came buzzing out of the gate, setting a tone physically from the drop of the puck, and it carried throughout the rest of the Bruins 4-1 victory in Game 2 Saturday night, tying the series up at one game each.
But with the physicality turned up to 10, there were several casualties in Game 2.
Whenever things got dicey Saturday night, it seemed Kadri and Jake DeBrusk were front and center.
First, there was this:
Then, there was this:
And lastly, there was this:
The first altercation, or whatever you want to call it, was just a matter of boys being boys in playoff hockey. No harm, no foul. Nothing to see here.
But the next two are the ones that will be talked about countless times for however many more games this series has left to offer.
“Which one...seemed to have a few of them,” Cassidy asked when questioned about his thoughts on Kadri and DeBrusk’s altercations.
“First one, scrum on the wall. Two guys going at it. It thought second period, I believe it was Jake hit Kadri, but I thought it was clean. Looking back at it, it was shoulder to shoulder. Obviously, Kadri stayed down and that’s his prerogative when he gets hit. And the last one, I don’t know if it was an altercation. I think he came over and cross checked him in the face, and I assumed it would be dealt with or looked at and go from there.”
It didn’t take long for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to make a decision on whether or not to schedule a hearing with Kadri and his crosscheck to DeBrusk’s head.
Because the hearing offered to the Maple Leafs center is an in-person hearing, the league has the ability to suspend Kadri for a minimum of five games.
As you may remember, Kadri was suspended for three games in last year’s playoff series between the two teams after his hit on Bruins’ forward Tommy Wingels in Game 1 last April.
As the Maple Leafs prepared for the start of their seven-game series with the Bruins earlier this week, Kadri’s style of play, and his costly suspension last April was once again brought up.
“You try to get as close to it without crossing it," Kadri said of playing on the edge. “I think you have to be somewhat conscious about it. Hockey is about decision making and instinctual decisions. Everything happens at such a high pace and high intensity especially during the playoffs. It's something you have to be aware of."
Maybe Kadri should have been a little more aware of that edge on Saturday.
It’s hard to see Kadri get off with anything less than a five-game suspension, in large part due to his previous history. Kadri has missed a total of 15 games across four different suspensions, in his career, as well as three separate fines that came in a three-month span in 2016.
On a night where the Bruins did a good job frustrating the Maple Leafs with their physical play and domination for most of the 60-minute contest, Kadri was visibly becoming more frustrated as the game moved along.
Part of Kadri’s frustration was certainly due to what I am sure he felt was a dirty hit by DeBrusk in the second period.
“You can’t worry about what’s called, what’s not called, obviously it looked like a knee on knee to us, it is what it is,” said Maple Leafs forward John Tavares. “You just try to move forward and worry about the game that’s ahead.”
With the chances of not seeing Kadri for the rest of the series pretty high, there’s also a chance we won’t see DeBrusk for at least one game. But unlike Kadri, it won’t be because the forward is facing a suspension from the league.
Instead, it may be the result of some not-so-good news once the test results come back.
“I did a series of tests. Just hoping to come back negative at this point,” a dazed and somber DeBrusk said.
Losing DeBrusk for any amount of time would be a big loss for the Bruins, just as losing Kadri yet again to suspension, is another big loss for the Maple Leafs.
Kadri and DeBrusk were not the only two to come out of a physical Game 2 with some uncertainty surrounding their status for Game 3 and beyond.
Torey Krug left the game and did not return after this big hit from Jake Muzzin.
Connor Clifton also left Game 2 in the third period and did not return.
Cassidy did not have any updates on Krug or Clifton after the victory. The Bruins have an off day on Sunday, however, Cassidy will meet the media in the early afternoon and hopefully then will have some updates on DeBrusk, Krug and Clifton.