March 09 2015 09:31AM
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri was late for a team meeting this weekend, and as a result, he won't play on Monday night against the New York Islanders. Hopefully there's a lesson for Kadri in this, and the mini-controversy can now be put to bed, where it won't oversleep.
"It's brutal," Kadri said of his mistake, and the resulting consequences.
"He told me to keep my head up and not let it happen again," Kadri said of his coach accepting the apology, via Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
From the sounds of it, Kadri has learned his lesson:
Kadri says hardest part of incident was letting his dad know what happened: "I'm not just letting my teammates down but also my family"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 9, 2015
Kadri: "Yesterday was a humiliating feeling for me ... having to explain myself over & over again is not fun"— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) March 9, 2015
Hopefully this incident doesn't alienate a talented 24-year-old player, especially because being late for a meeting isn't altogether uncommon - in professional hockey, or in professional life in general - and really, it's not that big a deal in the bigger picture.
As TSN's Aaron Ward, an NHL veteran who appeared in over 900 games between the regular season and the playoffs, tweeted on Monday, it's not surprising is that a player was late, it's more surprising that his tardiness became public. Kadri's teammate Joffrey Lupul echoed that sentiment on Monday, recounting a time he was late for a team meeting in Anaheim and the issue was dealt with quietly and internally.
Nothing about the Maple Leafs at the moment is quiet though, fans at the Air Canada Centre aside.
What's mildly concerning is that when the public has been let in on this sort of news in the past, like with Shane O'Brien in Vancouver, or the Alexander Radulov brouhaha, it hasn't augured well for a player's future with their particular team.
Kadri is an enormously useful pivot, and one of the league's single best drivers of penalty differential. Most importantly, he's the right age for a club that's entering a new rebuilding phase. That Horachek is making Kadri watch a game from the press box seems a fair punishment for the skilled forward's tardiness, but the hope has to be that this ends here.