After serving a suspension from Leafs president Brendan Shanahan for personal reasons, Nazem Kadri may be finding his way into a suspension from NHL player safety head Stephane Quintal for hockey reasons. This morning, word got out that Kadri’s elbow to the head of Matt Fraser will lead to a hearing.
This is a weird case. On one hand, it’s hard to accuse Kadri of having intent to injure on the play. No matter how many times one watches the replay, it’s difficult to identify any moment of malice, and it seems like Kadri shows remorse before Fraser hits the ground. On the other hand, even if there was no intent, it’s still an elbow to the head, and at the very least a case of Kadri having his limbs out in a reckless position. If the league wants head trauma to be taken seriously, you need to punish the irresponsible hitters as well.
Overall, I don’t think that this warrants a long term suspension, but it does warrant some sort of supplementary discipline. The fact that Kadri’s hearing will be had over the phone, rather than in person, implies that we won’t see him get more than a few games – two or three being the most likely outcome. This would be a fair punishment for the crime.
Though, with the way the Leafs are free-falling, a long suspension would probably play to their long-term benefit. Not that you’ll see one.