Nazem Kadri broke his silence on Friday, holding court with reporters in the visitors’ locker room at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Friday night matchup against the Calgary Flames.
The topic? What else? His recent suspension from the team for disciplinary issues.
On what specifically the issues were that he was suspended for:
“I can’t really go into specifics, but I had a pretty positive meeting with management and stuff like that. I understand where I’m at, and where they want me to be, and what I expect from myself, so all I can really do is focus on the future and understand that there is an expectation of a certain level of professionalism and that’s what I expect from myself going forward.”
On whether he was embarrassed by how publicly Brendan Shanahan discussed these issues:
“Of course I’m embarrassed about it. I mean, it’s a lesson learned, and that’s how I’ll approach it. I’m a little bit humiliated, but besides that it was a lesson learned and something that you can look to as making yourself a better person. It’s a lesson that couldn’t be more clear as of this point in time and I have no ill feelings for anybody else. I put the blame on myself and understand that I have to bring out a better level expectation in terms of professionalism. But other than that, all I can worry about right now is the future and moving forward.”
On if these issues are something every young player goes through – as Brendan Shanahan aluded to, given he had been suspended by his team early in his career:
“I think it’s all similar. It’s a bit of a wake-up call and understanding that certain things just aren’t going to be tolerated. I’m never one to put myself before the team. I’m not bigger than the team, that’s not the approach I’m taking, but Shanny made it clear to me and management made it clear what has to be done and what has to be achieved and that’s something I expect for myself, and obviously things have to change, and given time those changes will happen.”
On whether he looks as this move as the team re-committing to him rather than casting him aside (as other teams have done in the past):
“Really, you can look it however way you want. What I know is I want to be part of the future and they expressed the same feeling, so that I’m thankful for. Really, it’s just a bump in the road. You can take this one of two ways. You can try and make excuses for it and blame other people and whine about it, or you can be positive and accept your consequences and take responsibility of it and move forward and it makes you a better person and a player.”
On whether he was surprised by the length of the suspension, when originally it was only a one-game ban:
“I was a little bit surprised, but that being said, it’s something I understand and I understand fully. Like I said, there’s no ill feelings. I understand why they did it. [I] had meetings with them that ended in positive ways, and it’s just about taking steps in the right direction. Like Shanny explained, this happens to a lot of young players and for myself, it’s an eye-opener to understand that certain things have to be done and I’ll all for that.”
On what specifically he needs to do differently:
“Just preparation, being a little bit more prepared and a little more ready, and understand that professionalism is huge. No matter what day it is, whether you’re in, you’re out, I’m certainly a guy that’s in and not in the way, and that’s how I’m going to approach things. I expect what they expect from me, if not more from myself, so it’s something that I’m just going to move forward with and I’m hopefully excited to be in the line-up tomorrow.”
On whether his issues were stemming from being young and enjoying life as a 24-year-old:
“Sometimes you do look at it as that, and a lot of times you’re forced to grow up faster than really you want to. That just comes with the territory, and obviously with this being a public domain everyone likes to speculate and this and that. A lot of it’s untrue. What is true is just how I approach things and how I’m going to be better for this team in every single way possible.”