Nazem Kadri is dirty.
We know it. He knows it. His mother probably knows it but keeps it hush hush.
Here’s a guy with enough dirty history to be separated among 3-4 players, at least. He had a viciously above-the-law hit on Justin Faulk in last year’s playoff showdown between Colorado and St. Louis, which was publicly condemned by Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn.
Trust me when I tell you that right now, Schenn is dreaming about walking over to Kadri and applying his fist to his jawline. Robert Bortuzzo has more than likely experienced flashbacks to his practice fight with Zach Sanford, replacing his ex-teammate with Mr. Kadri without Steve Ott there to break it up.
But revenge isn’t just a dish best served cold on a sheet of ice; it’s something that belongs only in your head. Physically putting into motion extra violence in a playoff game that is already a surefire powder keg, would be asking for an early deficit.
Quite frankly, the Avs’ power play is too strong to exact revenge on Kadri. Here’s a better idea: beat the shit out of his team, in all facets of the game. Throw an extra shoulder into them in the corners, behind the net, and especially in front of the net. A little extra elbow grease after the whistle, or an outright Bobby Plager tribute with an assault-charge level hip check.
What do I dream about with Kadri? Kelly Chase, Tony Twist, and Craig Berube just chasing him around with wiffle ball bats. Anyway...
Beat him on the scoreboard. Do your job and win the game, because that’s how you really make a plane ride stink for the opposing team. Even the series, take away their advantage, and prove that you are much more than a great goaltender. The Blues have prided themselves for the past few years on depth and “next man up” mentality. With Jordan Binnington healing up for a possible round two, Ville Husso and Charlie Lindgren have the net for the next four games.
The Blues aren’t out of this series by any means. The commanding loss on Saturday only looked that way due to a couple of empty net goals. The game was a 3-2 vice grip for much of the third period, but the team just couldn’t break through. They had the better face-off percentage and more shots on goal, holding the Avalanche to just one power play. Colorado took advantage of a game-tilting hit from Kadri, one that HE ABSOLUTELY WASN’T SHOVED INTO COMMITTING. His teammates didn’t waste the momentum shift and limited the Blues on their close scoring chances.
Tonight will be different. It has to be. This is the biggest game of the year for the Blues. Lose this one, and you go back to the mountains down 3-1 with only one home game remaining. Binnington isn’t coming back, but the forwards could check into the series. I keep waiting for this “Robert Thomas is awesome” moment to come, but it’s not. Am I expecting too much? The kid has talent and put up a strong regular season, but he has three points during the playoffs. Would it be too much to ask for him to shoot the puck a little more often instead of insisting on passing?
I could keep going on and on about this player not going to the dirty areas, or this player lacking the necessary gumption to finish a play--but there’s better hockey writers and minds for that job. Ms. Laura, our captain on this site, is a reporter-commentary maverick. Ben Hochman can spin a good tale for the Post Dispatch. Jeff Ponder, Curt Price, and Bill Day do a fine job with the Let’s Go Blues Radio podcast, same goes for Thomas Welch and Josh Hyman at Locked On Blues.
I’m just a (mostly) retired hockey writer making a cameo appearance. But there’s nothing quite like playoff hockey. It’s a unique animal that never stays the same color for long, and switches up its intensity by the minute, or play. It’s the kind of action that compels people to write something, like what you’re reading here. Every other sport’s postseason pales in comparison to the raw electricity of a playoff game at The Enterprise Center.
It’s a three hour mosh pit of rabid emotion, where complete strangers either scream at or with each other. You leave the building like you played, but retreat to beer and nachos instead of cold packs and heated pads. It’s the end of the line for most teams, and safe passage for a select few.
Winning the Cup in 2019 may have quenched my thirst in unexpected ways, but that’s a hollow saying when the team advances into the second round and actually wins a game. At that point, all caution is thrown to the wind.
The Blues should resist throwing Nazem Kadri through the glass atop the boards. Hit him every chance you get, score more goals than his team, and whisper after the game to him, “you’re fucked.”