The NHL is awfully quick to throw the book at Nazem Kadri. But where the hell are they when some idiot throws him an elbow?
Or a bottle of water? Or something worse?
David Perron, Blues forward by day and tactless moron by night, should be suspended. Now. If not for Avs-Blues Game 5 on Wednesday night at the Ball Arena, when Colorado likely finishes what they started, then for the rest of this series.
“I don’t know if it was just about him,” Perron told reporters after the Avs’ 6-3 victory on Monday night, when asked about Nazem Kadri, who scored three of those goals for the Colorado. “It was about creating a spark.”
Nonsense. It was about sending a guy to southern Illinois on national television. It was about giving red meat to the thugs to chew. It was violence for violence’s sake, under the guise of revenge.
“Then they were leading 3-1,” Perron continued, “and I just didn’t feel like we had enough perspective.”
Hang it up, Gary Bettman. Now.
Dare not give this classless tool shed another chance. Don’t let a coward compete for the Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Perron didn’t just score 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 took to the ice on Monday in St. Louis with policemen perched above the Avs team entrance. Why? Because diving for a loose puck in the slot in Game 3 caused the No. 91 to collide with Blues defenseman Calle Rosen. Because the dive sent the pair of them rolling into St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Because Binnington limped off the ice and was written out of the show. Because No. 91 and Binnington have, to say the least, a “history.” Because social media went crazy, because Blues coach Craig Berube threw gas on the fire, Kadri needed a screen from local law enforcement to do his job.
“No human being should have to receive this kind of treatment,” noted Avs defender Erik Johnson, whose laser from the point to tie Monday’s tilt at 1-1. “Especially with a hockey game.”
And yet, Perron did everything to make an uncomfortable situation even worse.
Five and a half minutes into the second period, with the Avs stunned the Blues in a 3-1 deficit, Perron rushed to Kadri near center ice and cross-checked the forward from the Colorado in the bands. In fact, it wasn’t so much a miss as a flying rugby tackle.
After Kadri’s first shift, in which St. Louis’ Brayden Schenn made a point of chasing the Avs center about two minutes into the game and walked straight into the No. 91 gridiron, we could have seen this one coming.
But here’s the thing: Perron wasn’t done. After Kadri’s second goal from the frame gave the visitors a 4-1 lead, the Blues forward moved past public enemy No. 1 St. Louis as he celebrated.
Blues stalwarts who’ve been through every stinky angle of Kadri’s accidental barrel roll in Binnington should take a good look. to what happened next. The same goes for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Perron, in full view, lifted his right elbow and shoulder in Kadri’s face, narrowly missing the cup from defenseless Colorado center at the right faceoff circle.
“We were just trying,” the Blues striker told reporters, “to create a spark.”
Hang it up. Now.
Since the Gateway City Cranks can’t get enough of hypotheticals, here’s one to chew on: you know what happens if Kadri executes a tackle like Perron’s? You know what happens if the camera catches him elbowing a sitting duck after he scores?
You know very well what is going on. He finished for the series. Probably for the playoffs.
Perron deserves no less. Game 4 was the work of a cheap and desperate man on a cheap and desperate team reduced to cheap and desperate measures.
Only the Avs did not go out of their way to return this malevolence in kind. What they could have. Easily.
“It’s not about ego,” Johnson told reporters. “It’s about winning.”
It’s a class issue. It’s about Kadri somehow rising above the noise and the grudge. It’s about him saying this to the media:
“What was said (to me) is not a reflection of all St. Louis fans. I understand that and I want it to be clear.
That after two days – if not more – of off-ice threats from the River City yahoos who had about five too many Budweisers.
“(They were) racial, menacing,” Kadri said when asked about the sordid details. “All that good stuff.”
The last laugh was his. The fourth point of a historic night came on a feed from teammate Mikko Rantanen for an empty-net hitter with two seconds left, nailing the closed coffin on a 3-1 series lead.
“He raised his game,” Avs coach Bednar told reporters, “at the best time to show what he’s made of.”
Last spring, the Avs showed they couldn’t make the conference finals without him. This spring, he’s showing the choir carpers exactly why.
Sometimes justice is poetic. All that’s left for the Blues is the handshake line. And if Perron is part of it on Wednesday, Bettman should be ashamed.