While a health scratch seemingly serves as a wake-up call for Nazem Kadri, it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t quite finished sending him a message.
Brendan Shanahan approached the media with some stern comments and a stunning announcement on Wednesday: Kadri will sit two more games, according to reporters including TSN’s Mark Masters.
Shanahan told a gathering of reporters that Kadri’s extra push of the snooze button before a team meeting is just one of several incidents. (Apparently the rest of the Maple Leafs have been told not to go into detail about other run-ins.)
“It’s time for him to start making better decisions,” Shanahan said, per CBC. “There’s a history here and there comes a point in the careers of many hockey players in similar situations, there comes a point where you’ve got to grow up.
“Naz is 24 now. This is not something that we felt would benefit him if we swept it under the rug.”
Dion Phaneuf told the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle that the Leafs will support Kadri through this, without sharing further information.
Shanahan believes that the Maple Leafs need to handle this in a “firm” way rather than just letting it go.
As Siegel notes, Shanahan’s message is essentially that Kadri needs to grow up.
Want to dissect the full range of comments? Here’s the complete Shanahan press conference (in a hallway):
Of course, the Maple Leafs have a luxury to address what they believe is a problem with a young player now that their playoff hopes are essentially scuttled. It would be difficult to imagine them taking such a step if tonight’s game against Buffalo wasn’t just for pride.
Interim head coach Peter Horachek has a good counterpoint for that, however:
Some believe that Kadri, 24, could be the Maple Leafs’ top center as soon as next season. Then again, he doesn’t even have a contract settled for 2015-16.
If it wasn’t clear that he’s at a fork in the road in his career (and with the Maple Leafs) already, these resounding statements make that pretty obvious.