AVALANCHE

The Kadri Game: Nazem notches legendary hat trick after racism, threats

May 23, 2022, 11:31 PM | Updated: 11:46 pm
Nazem Kadri...
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri silenced the entire city of St. Louis, shutting down the Blues and putting their season on the brink Monday night.

For 48 hours, Kadri, who is Muslim, was the target of unrelenting racism and threats after colliding with Calle Rosen and Jordan Binnington in Game 3 on Saturday. The crash injured the Blues starting goalie, Binnington. Kadri has been suspended in the past for dirty plays but the one in Game 3 was ruled clean by the NHL. The Blues organization did not agree, accusing the Avs forward of hurting Binnington purposely.

Binnington himself threw a water bottle at Kadri during an interview with TNT after Game 3.

After Game 4 Kadri, standing in the same spot, told TNT, “For those that hate, that was for them.”

Kadri netted a hat trick, scoring the go-ahead goal and the eventual game-winner in the second period, 3 minutes and 30 seconds apart from each other. It was the first road hat trick in Avs postseason history.

“A great follow-up game,” Kadri said. “I guess I needed some fuel, and I was pretty upset for the last couple of days, but it is what it is; we got the win.”

Colorado won 6-3, led by Kadri.

“He was our best player tonight, and we all have his back,” Darcy Kuemper said. “There’s not a single guy that’s not there for him.”

Kuemper made 17 stops including some big ones toward the game’s end. The Avs’ goalie’s heroics preserved the special night for Nazem.

“I just want to say how proud we are of Naz, to go through all of that crap the last couple of days. No person should have to go through that,” Erik Johnson said. “ I felt so good for him (scoring.) I think he enjoyed being the villain tonight.”

Kadri was fist-pumping, hushing the crowd and egging them on at each turn as they booed him back, watching their team get pummelled.

“We had a great game, I wanted to get on the board. I wanted to rub it in,” he said. “I like when fans are engaged in the game, have something to cheer about. And hey, if you want to boo me, by any means, that doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t even notice. I’m just gonna continue to worry about my matchup and, now, take care of business.”

Kadri showed absolute elegance, class and brilliance in just a few hours. For a man known to many as a dirty hockey player, he just became a shining example of athletic and human greatness.

“People need to be aware that this stuff still happens and it’s hurtful. It’s hurtful,” Kadri said. “I know a lot of people don’t have to deal with that and they might not understand what it feels like but people are trying, which I appreciate.”

“At the end of the day, I’m a good hockey player. And I just try to provide for my team and try to put all that aside. And I just worry about some kids that aren’t as mentally tough as I am and have to go through that scrutiny and that criticism. So I want to do the best I can to help.”

Kadri had the St. Louis police offering more security to the Avs over the weekend into Monday because of the identity-based threats.

If Kadri proved anything on the ice, it’s that St. Louis needed more security around their goal. Oh, and way more important, he also confirmed all the doubters wrong and harm-doers imbecilic.
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