Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri served frontier justice when a Ranger defenseman took out an Avs player with a dirty hit.
The Colorado Avalanche suffered another loss, this time at the hands of the New York Rangers. It was not a pretty loss. They just didn’t show enough passion, enough, heart, or enough will to win.
Most of them didn’t anyway. One player showed plenty of heart and passion — and a whole lot of grit. That player is Nazem Kadri. The Canadian center came over from Toronto, and he came with a reputation. Granted, part of that reputation was getting suspended at inopportune times, but all of it stems from standing up for his teammates.
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That’s what he did last night when he saw his linemate, Joonas Donskoi, absorb a hit to the head and go down. The hit was dirty — the principal point of contact was the head. The officials didn’t make the call, so, in the words of Jared Bednar, “We had to take care of it ourselves and that’s what we did.”
Well, that’s what Kadri did anyway. He opened up a can of whupping right on the offender, Ryan Lindgren.
I’m not going to lie. Kadri wasn’t gentlemanly about it. He crosschecked Lindgren in the kidney, and when the defenseman turned around, Kadri threw his gloves down and reached for Lindgren’s face.
Hey, if you don’t want to start taking punches to the head, don’t check opponents in the head. That’s a lesson our own Ian Cole learned at the hands of Tom Wilson. Hopefully it’s one Lindgren learned from Kadri.
Because Kadri schooled him but good. There were some haymakers. There were some upper cuts. The best Lindgren managed was a side-swipe that mostly resulted in an awkward hug.
Let’s watch the fight:
Here’s Lindgren’s face after the fight:
Here’s Donskoi’s befuddlement after the head hit from Lindgren:
Don’t tell me that vacant stare was the result of a clean hit. No such thing as a clean hit to the head. Look at the :29 mark of the video above — I’m not going to say the “c” word, but he’s struggling. Watch the :47 mark for the hit itself — it’s right to the head.
I know it’s not popular to enjoy fighting in hockey anymore — or rather, it’s not popular to say you enjoy fighting in hockey. Because every game I’ve been to where there’s a fight, the crowd surges to its feet and cheers. And Avs fans took to Twitter last night to commend Kadri for his actions.
Because as much as Kadri took Lindgren somewhat by surprise, he didn’t suckerpunch the Ranger. Lindgren had every opportunity to defend himself — a courtesy he didn’t give to Joonas Donskoi.
Here’s the thing — we need to maintain that kind of grit and heart on the Colorado Avalanche. We’ve got a lot of skill players on the team. And a Nathan MacKinnon or Cale Makar is just as vulnerable to that type of hit as Donskoi was.
Kadri earned two minutes for instigating, five for fighting, and a 10 minute major (which wasn’t a game misconduct because he returned to the game). Both Donskoi and Lindgren left the game and didn’t return.
I genuinely hope neither player is injured. But only Donskoi is a victim here. Fighting is meant to cut down on the types of dirty plays that took him out. And Lindgren shouldn’t do the crime if he can’t do the time. (But I really do hope he’s ok.)