Avs fans need to show overwhelming support for Kadri during Game 5
Ball Arena is going to be loud and proud on Wednesday night as the Colorado Avalanche have a chance to eliminate the St. Louis Blues in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The second-round curse is on the verge of coming to an end. A 20-year wait for a trip back to the Western Conference Finals is nearly over. The pom-poms will be out in full force.
Avs fans are behind Nazem Kadri, no doubt, days after he was subjected to racist threats and then cheap shots from David Perron and Pavel Buchnevich of the Blues. But there needs to be a little extra juice and appreciation for Kadri in downtown Denver. Bring a sign of support. Cheer him every time he touches the puck. Start “Kaw-dree” chants from the tippy top of the arena. Make him feel loved, just like some in St. Louis made him feel hated.
“Some of those messages I got (don’t) reflect every single fan in St. Louis, but for those that hate, that was for them,” Kadri said in a classy interview with TNT after Game 4.
Of course the vitriol spewed from some Instagram accounts doesn’t reflect an entire city, but after the head coach of the opposing team refused to denounce what happened, he dumped gasoline on an already out of control fire.
The best way to stick it to Craig Berube, Perron and Buchnevich is for Ball Arena to pretend like they don’t exist while the Avs run up the score and send the Blues to their tee times for the summer. Some fans will undoubtedly shower Perron with boos every time he touches the puck, and that’s perfectly acceptable, but a 10-0 final would make him hurt worse.
What Perron did in Game 4 was outrageous, and the fact he was fined a mere $5,000 for his actions is a shame. If you watch this hit and don’t think it’s suspension worthy, then I’m not sure your eyes are functioning. The whistle had long been blown after Perron attacked Kadri from behind, finishing up Buchnevich’s dirty work, and both guys only got minor penalties.
The Avs were unable to capitalize on the 5-on-3 advantage, but “Naz” quickly tallied his second goal of the night while both offenders were racing out of the penalty box to make it a 4-1 game. Perron tried to elbow Kadri in the face right after he scored, but missed, a fitting dose of Karma for a man who couldn’t stop Kadri all evening. The Avalanche center ended up recording the first road playoff hat trick in team history.
The Blues will undoubtedly try to goon up Game 5, especially if the Avs put the score out of reach, but Colorado can’t take the bait. It will be tempting for head coach Jared Bednar to insert Kurtis MacDermid into the lineup, but it just doesn’t make sense from a hockey perspective. The guys on the ice for Colorado will have to police it themselves, even with the toughest guy on the team not out there.
Colorado and the city of Denver are welcoming places, and Kadri has written he loves calling this place home. Every ounce of energy from every fan at the rink on Wednesday needs to make it clear he and his family are welcome here for as long as they want.
Winning a third Stanley Cup has been in dream in this town since way back in 2001 when Joe Sakic famously handed the best trophy in sports to Ray Bourque. And now Sakic, the team’s GM, has assembled a squad talented enough to do it again. Kadri is a big part of the reason why, and fans need to show him the love, as the journey to the cup hopefully reaches the halfway point.