Oilers’ Kane suspended 1 game after hit on Kadri

Oilers’ Kane suspended 1 game after hit on Kadri

Jun 5, 2022

  • Kristen ShiltonESPN NHL reporter

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      Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.

EDMONTON, Alberta — Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane has been suspended one game for boarding Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday.

Kane will miss Game 4 of the series on Monday, when the Avalanche, who hold a 3-0 series lead, can complete a sweep and secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Kane was assessed a five-minute major for the penalty in Game 3 but was not given a game misconduct for his actions. Kadri left following the hit and would not return. He suffered a broken right thumb on the play, and Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Kadri will miss “at least” the remainder of the series against Edmonton.

The NHL’s department of player safety held a hearing with Kane on Sunday and released its verdict of a one-game ban that same day. The league cited Kane’s history — three previous suspensions and two fines — as factors in its final ruling.

“It is important to note that this is not a scenario in which Kadri puts himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to the hit in a way that turns a legal check into an illegal one,” the NHL explained with its decision. “While we acknowledge that Kadri positions himself in front of Kane to shield the puck, this action is not a sudden or sharp movement that changes the nature of Kane’s hit in a way that he cannot control. And while we acknowledge Kane’s argument that Kadri loses his footing as he approaches the boards, we believe that this is a direct result of the shove and is not an unavoidable occurrence that causes an unfortunate accident. The shove is delivered at a dangerous distance from the boards while the two players are traveling at speed and causes an injury.”

Kane spoke with the media following Edmonton’s 4-2 loss on Saturday and detailed how he saw the play.

“I was coming in on the back check. I knew he likes to reverse hit,” Kane said. “I was just trying to get up on him, that’s really all I did. Unfortunately, he went into the boards awkwardly and hurt his hand. That was unfortunate.”

Bednar had no further update on Kadri’s status after Sunday’s practice but said the team should know more in the coming days. When asked for his thoughts on the hit following Saturday’s win, Bednar would only allow that, “[Kane] puts [Kadri] in headfirst from behind, 8 feet from the boards. I’ll leave it at that.” Bednar doubled down on Sunday by saying it was a “dangerous hit” and he didn’t like it.

Now Bednar expects Colorado will fill Kadri’s sizable void by committee. Kadri has six goals and 14 points in 13 postseason games to date and has played a prominent role in this series so far as part of the Avalanche’s productive second line with Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen.

Meanwhile, the Oilers will try staving off elimination without Kane. The team’s top-line winger scored the first goal of the Western Conference finals and has 13 goals and 17 points — including two hat tricks — in 15 postseason games thus far.

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