‘I never felt that Nazem ever listened to me,’ says former Leafs coach Wilson of Kadri

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Earlier this season, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson took aim and blasted Phil Kessel in a radio interview when Randy Carlyle lost his job.

More than two months later, and with the Leafs near the end of a tumultuous season, Wilson has spoken out about Nazem Kadri, who was punished three games for what started out as missing a team meeting and culminated with the ban and being told publicly by Brendan Shanahan to “grow up.”

Wilson, who coached Kadri in Toronto for parts of three seasons, made the comments while appearing on TSN on Friday.

“My experience was basically difficult,” said Wilson, “because I never felt that Nazem ever listened to me.

“And it was all evidence in we would say, ‘Don’t turn the puck over.’ And the next shift Nazem would go out there and turn the puck over. If we had drawn a hard line with him and sent him down to the minors and made (an) example of him early on in his career, he might not be doing these things now.

“He might’ve been reformed. But as this has gone on and on, it keeps getting worse. He’s still making the same mistakes he did as a rookie. He’s better, obviously. He’s physically better. But he still has a tendency  to turn the puck over at the offensive blue line. That has to be rooted out of him.”

Kadri is expected back in Toronto’s lineup Saturday against the Canucks in Vancouver.