By HOWARD BERGER
TORONTO (Mar. 11) — So, Nazem Kadri has now been suspended by the Maple Leafs for two more games — ineligible to play until Saturday night’s visit to Vancouver. We know Kadri was late for a team meeting Sunday, which led to coach Peter Horachek scratching him for Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Islanders. Now, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan has tacked on a couple of more games to the sentence, telling reporters “incidents like this will not be tolerated.”
Incidents like what, Brendan?
If you’re going to publicly censure a player, perhaps you can inform the public of the incident in question. Otherwise, it leads to an eternal range of speculation — not a good idea in the loony world of social media.
“There’s more to this, obviously,” Shanahan said.
Obviously my rump, Brendan. There is nothing the least bit obvious to anyone except you and those in your employ.
BRENDAN SHANAHAN: TODAY WASN’T HIS FINEST MOMENT.
“If this was a case of Nazem being late for a meeting one time… then you could probably sweep this under the rug and handle it internally.”
Wrong, Brendan. You could have handled this internally from the outset. As a former player, you know as well as anyone that “incidents” happen all the time with a hockey club. They are routinely dealt with out of the public eye simply by levying a fine. Which you almost certainly would have done in this situation were your team in playoff contention. With an unstated desire to plummet as far as possible in the standings, it’s easy to shut down one of your best players for three games. Too easy, in fact.
“But, Naz is an important part of our future.”
Oh, I’m sure he’s dying to be part of the future with a dysfunctional team whose highest–paid skater has been running a flag up the pole for more than two months. And not a peep of dissent from coaches or management. Rules for Fast Phil and rules for everyone else.
“I’ve asked [Kadri] to just work hard. I’ve explained this to our captains. They understand. I told them I don’t want them talking about it. I just want them focusing on our game against Buffalo.”
You deliberately come before the media on the morning of a home game to castigate one of your players… and now you want everyone else to be quiet? To (in your words) “sweep it under the rug?”
I’m puzzled, Brendan.
For a guy that impressed so many people with thoughtful work during the lost season of 2004–05, and with innovative thinking while a National Hockey League executive in charge of discipline, today’s appearance before the cameras didn’t measure up.
I honestly hold you in higher esteem.
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