The Colorado Avalanche are facing off-ice threats from Blues fans and should expect on-ice threats from Blues players.
For the Colorado Avalanche, or any NHL team, to face a threat from an opponent is normal as long as it’s the threat of a loss. That’s not was the Avalanche are facing from the St. Louis Blues — not mainly anyway. Instead, the players are being threatened themselves.
Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri collided with Blues defenseman Calle Rosen, and both players barreled into Blues goalie Jordan Binnington. Binnington left the game with an apparent leg injury, and it’s reported he’ll miss the rest of the series.
St. Louis fans were up in arms, calling the hit dirty and saying Kadri targeted Binnington. That passion is understandable. In that same game, Avs defenseman Samuel Girard was smashed into the boards with such force that it broke his sternum and he’s out for months. I think the hit was dirty, and I’m not a fan of the player, Ivan Barbashev, who laid it on him. I mean, GIrard had to spend the night in the hospital!
However, as much as we would have liked to see the NHL Department of Player Safety take a look at that hit and deliver justice, none of us in Avs Nation would advocate for violence on the man himself. We didn’t even go there when Matt Cooke took out Tyson Barrie with a clear knee-on-knee hit.
Yet starting during the game, St. Louis Blues fans were advocating to do injury to Kadri. Indeed, not only did they agitate for on-ice injury, but they made threats related to his off-ice health. They chimed in on an Avalanche tweet and displayed knives. What’s worse, they called him a terrorist, a presumed allusion to his Muslim faith.
I denounce that kind of behavior vehemently and with utter disgust. We must all take such a stance against such bias and racism in hockey and in the world at large.
Indeed, the situation has been seen as serious enough that the St. Louis police have reportedly been called in to work with the team on the threats. The Avalanche themselves released a statement.
Unfortunately, the Blues organization isn’t doing anything to calm the situation. Rather, they seem intent to fan the flames. After the game, their coach, Craig Berube, stated the following:
"“Look at Kadri’s reputation. That’s all I’ve got to say.”"
He was presumably referring to the postseason suspensions Kadri has unfortunately accrued through the years. Well, the NHL DoPS looked at the hit and deemed it a hockey play — and they’re not exactly Kadri fans. If there was any hint of the dirty, they wouldn’t hesitate to suspend Kadri again.
Additionally, Binnington threw a water bottle at Kadri while the latter was doing a post-game interview. Either the goalie doesn’t have good aim or arm strength, but the bottle didn’t really get too near Kadri. That’s just a childish and unsportsmanlike move. But then, this is the player who swung his big goalie paddle at Kadri’s head during a game.
All in all, the unfortunate truth is that Colorado Avalanche players should have their heads on swivels in Game 4. I honestly do think the Blues players will finish their checks extra hard against Kadri and maybe try to sneak in some dirty plays. And I don’t think they’ll limit it to only Kadri.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the players targeted Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper as a form of eye-for-an-eye “justice.” Our key skill players, such as Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, will likely have targets on their backs as well.
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Hopefully the Colorado Avalanche can keep the game clean enough to hurt the St. Louis Blues in the best way possible — with a loss in their own barn. That would put the Blues down 3-1 with the next game being played in Denver. Such a situation would truly prove the best revenge.