The NHL is terribly quick to throw the book at Nazem Kadri. But where the hell are they when some idiot throws an elbow at him?
Or a water bottle? Or something worse?
Blues forward by day and tactless jerk by night, David Perron should be suspended. Now. If not for Game 5 of Avs-Blues Wednesday night at Ball Arena, when Colorado likely finishes what it started, then for the rest of this series.
“I don’t know if it was just him,” Perron told reporters after the Avs’ 6-3 win Monday night when asked about Nazem Kadri, who scored three of those goals in Colorado. “It was about creating a spark.”
Nonsense. It was about shoving a guy on state television into upstate Illinois. It was about giving lowlifes red meat to chew on. It was brawl for brawl’s sake, under the guise of revenge.
“Then they were up 3-1,” continued Perron, “and I just didn’t feel like we had enough headwind.”
Suspend him, Gary Bettman. Now.
Don’t you dare give this headhunter classless toolhouse another chance. Don’t let a coward fight for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Perron not only had two goals on Monday. The left winger also had a third. He wanted to hurt Kadri. He wanted to impose his own brand of fake machismo and fake hockey justice on an innocent man.
Kadri competed on Ice Monday in St. Louis Police officers towered over the Avs team entrance. Why? Because diving after a loose puck in the crease during Game 3 caused No. 91 to collide with Blues defenseman Calle Rosen. Because the dive rolled the two into St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Because Binnington limped off the ice and was ruled out of the series. Because No. 91 and Binnington have a “history” to say the least. With social media going crazy over Blues coach Craig Berube throwing gas on the fire, Kadri needed a protective screen from local law enforcement to get his job done.
“Nobody should have to undergo that kind of treatment,” observed Avs defender Erik Johnson, whose laser went from the spot in Monday’s 1-1 equalizer. “Especially at a hockey game.”
And yet Perron did everything he could to make an uncomfortable situation even worse.
Five and a half minutes into the second half after the Avs stunned the Blues to a 3-1 deficit, Perron sped to Kadri near the center ice and checked the Colorado up front into the gang. Actually, it was less of a check and more of a flying rugby tackle.
We could have seen these coming after Kadri’s first shift, in which St. Louis’ Brayden Schenn made a point to blast the Avs center into play about two minutes into the game and got straight into the No. 91’s grill.
But here’s the thing: Perron wasn’t done yet. After Kadri’s second frame goal gave the visitors a 4-1 lead, the Blues forward drove past St. Louis’ public enemy No. 1 while celebrating.
Blues devotees who survived every stinky angle of Kadri’s accidental barrel roll in Binnington should take a nice, long look at this to what happened next. And so should the NHL’s Player Safety Division.
Perron raised his right elbow and right shoulder in sight of Kadri’s face, narrowly missing the defenseless Colorado center’s cup at the right faceoff circle.
“We were just trying,” the blues forward told reporters, “to create a spark.”
suspend him Now.
Since the Gateway City Cranks can’t get enough hypotheses, here’s one to chew on: You know what happens when Kadri pulls off a tackle like Perron’s? You know what happens when the camera catches him throwing an elbow at a sitting duck after they score?
You know damn well what’s happening. He’s done for the series. Probably for the postseason.
Perron deserves no less. Game 4 was the work of one cheap, desperate man on a cheap, desperate team reduced to cheap, desperate measures.
Only the Avs haven’t bothered to return this malice in kind. what they could have had. Easy.
“It’s not about ego,” Johnson told reporters. “It’s about winning.”
It’s about class. It’s about Kadri somehow rising above the noise and defiance. It’s about him telling the media:
“What was said (to me) doesn’t reflect every fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear.”
This is after two days – if not more – of off-ice threats from River City Yahoos who drank about five Budweisers too many.
“(They were) racist, threatening,” Kadri said when asked about the sordid details. “All the good stuff.”
The last laugh was his. The fourth point of a historic night came on a feed to teammate Mikko Rantanen for an empty net tap with two seconds to go, nailing the coffin for a 3-1 lead.
“He upped his game,” Avs coach Bednar told reporters, “at the best time to show what he’s made of.”
Last spring, the Avs showed they wouldn’t be making the conference finals without him. This spring he shows the carpers exactly why in the chorus.
Sometimes justice is poetic. All that’s left for the blues is the handshake line. And if Perron is any part of that on Wednesday, Bettman should be ashamed.