Kiz: Evander Kane. Rhymes with stain. One cheap shot at a time, he has established himself as Hockey Enemy No. 1 in Colorado. Kane took a run at Nazem Kadri in Game 3 and knocked the Avalanche center out of this playoff series between Colorado and Edmonton. The NHL responded by giving Kane a one-game suspension. Did the punishment fit the crime? Most Avs fans would shout: “Oh, heck no!” (Perhaps using saltier language.) What say you, my friend?
Chambers: The NHL Department of Player Safety compared that hit to others in the playoffs and levied the same discipline — a short suspension or a fine. But Kadri was injured (broken right thumb, we’re pretty sure) and will undoubtedly miss the rest of the series. He’s back in Denver for further evaluation. It seems like if it was Kadri who delivered that hit, he’d be suspended at least five games. I was surprised by the one-game ban and believe it should have been at least two or the rest of this series.
Kiz: You and I have traveled the road to the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche longer than almost any journalists in Denver. And I believe living the long hockey history to be very informative in this particular case. Way back in 1996, when Avs forward Claude Lemieux smashed the face of Detroit’s Kris Draper with a nasty hit that ignited a blood feud, the league office ruled it a cheap, premeditated shot. Lemieux got a two-game suspension. What Kane did to Kadri was bad. But it wasn’t as vicious as the mayhem created by Lemieux back in the day.
Chambers: Kane’s hit on Kadri will linger. If there is a Game 5 on Wednesday it could get ugly at Ball Arena. But Avs coach Jared Bednar and his staff won’t let this get too messy. They want to wrap up the series and move on to the club’s first Stanley Cup Final since 2001. The Colorado-Detroit rivalry was an annual affair — both clubs in Cup-or-bust mode every season during that time. Fuel was continually thrown onto the fire. There was no forgetting. But Kadri and Kane are both pending unrestricted free agents. The Avs probably won’t be able to afford Kadri, who is in line to get a hefty raise from his $4.5 million cap hit. Same with Kane and the Oilers, who signed the troubled player to a modest deal after he was bought out in January by the Sharks.
Kiz: Blind outrage and blind partisanship are the currency of social media, but I never believed Kane was ever getting more than two games. So I’m just happy the league didn’t let him entirely off the hook. Know what I find most fascinating about this whole mess? Long known as one of the dirtiest players in the NHL, Kadri has worked hard to change his demeanor on the ice for the better and taken brutal shots in these playoffs. Critics might call that karma. I call it amazing growth, personally and professionally, by Kadri.
Chambers: Kadri has become an Avalanche star — on the ice and in the community. I, too, recognize his growth since his eight-game suspension for a high hit on Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in last year’s playoffs. He saw how much that suspension hurt the Avs in the second round against Vegas and he vowed to not let that happen the rest of his tenure with the club. Kadri has taken a beating in the playoffs. He never deserved it in the second round this year against the Blues. That anger stemmed from last year. The racism that arose from it was unfortunate but reminded us how we can never allow that to win.