ST. LOUIS – The answer is yes: suspended NHL players can still practice with the team. That was evidenced this morning by Nazem Kadri being on the ice here at Enterprise Center, where the Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of a quarterfinal playoff series tonight. Kadri, though, is going to be suspended by the NHL for his hit on Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2. The only question remains: for how long?
Kadri was scheduled to have a hearing with the NHL Department of Safety today, via Zoom call. It is not known whether the call has already taken place or not, as I type this. But the NHL is expected to render a decision by later this afternoon.
Carl Soderberg, coach Jared Bednar confirmed, will take Kadri’s spot in the lineup. There weren’t any formal line rushes at the morning skate here, so we don’t know exactly with whom Carl with skate with in the game.
“Wherever they want to play me is fine with me,” Soderberg said. “I’m excited to play.”
The Blues will be without Faulk tonight, along with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who also suffered an upper-body injury in Game 2. Blues leading scorer David Perron was not on the ice this morning for the Blues either, as it’s assumed he’s still in the league Covid-19 protocol.
The Avs remain pretty heavy favorites to win even with the game in St. Louis, as evidenced by this review of popular betting apps for NHL hockey.
Bednar said he expects a physical Blues team tonight, especially at the start. That’s the way teams have tried to play the Avs all year, though, he said.
“So, we’ll be ready for that, as we always have,” he said.
Personally? I think the Blues are going to be very physical, and that we should all be prepared for potential outrage at stuff the Blues do.
NOTEBOOK: Bednar said the main goal for the team tonight is to “play a full 60 minutes. We’ve had stretches of games where we’ve done a lot of good things, but we haven’t played a full 60, haven’t played to the standards we’ve set for ourselves.” … Kadri wore a regular jersey and appeared to be in decent spirits. Players gave him stick taps to the pants for encouragement, things like that.