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St. Louis police investigate death threats made towards Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri

A series ending injury, death threats, a water bottle and a police investigation. Things are shaky at the moment for Colorado’s center.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Colorado Avalanche's Nazem Kadri collided with St. Louis Blues' goaltender Jordan Binnington resulting in a series ending injury for the goalie. Kadri has subsequently received death threats and St. Louis police are now investigating.
Dilip VishwanatAFP

While receiving critique and insults are par for the course when you’re a professional athlete, death threats are most definitely crossing a line.

Police investigate threats made towards Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri

According to reports, the Colorado Avalanche are assisting St. Louis’ law enforcement agency with an invesitagtion into threats that were made towards center Nazem Kadri following their Game 3 win over the Blues on Saturday night. The threats stem from what was sadly a series ending injury to the Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington after a collision early on in Game 3 which involved Kadri. Indeed, with just six minutes and 45 seconds on the clock in the first period of the game, Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen crashed into Binnington. What was the result moment? Binnington suffered a lower body injury that saw him removed from the game and then later ruled out for the rest of the series.

To add literal insult to injury, backup goalie Ville Husso - the Blues’ No. 1 at the start of the postseason - would go on to concede four goals to the tune of 23 shots in what turnd out to be a 5-2 defeat. Fortunately for the Avalanche, they still lead the series 2-1 as they get ready for Game 4 on Monday night in St. Louis. Sadly, The situation has brought up an ugly side of the game which was confirmed in a tweet by fellow NHL player Akim Aliu who stated that he had in fact spoken with Kadri and that the Avalanche’s center “has been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in.” Incidentally, Aliu and Kadri are founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization made up of former and current hockey players of color with the aim of stamping racism out of the game. “Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported on,” Aliu said of the threats made towards Kadri who is a muslim of Lebanese descent. For their part the franchise released a statement on Sunday sayin, “the Avalanche organization is aware of threats made toward Nazem Kadri and is working with local law enforcement to investigate.”

Is the Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri a bad boy?

In a move that has already garnered criticism, Blues coach Craig Berube made a less than ideal statement following his team’s Game 3 loss. “Look at Kadri’s reputation. That’s all I’ve got to say,” he said in an apparent reference to the number of suspensions that Kadri has amassed in recent times, including an eight-game ban for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in the 2021 playoffs. Interestingly there was no penalty called on Kadri for the fateful play on Saturday night, which it must be said again involved a secondary Blues player. Incidentally, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety also deemed the play unworthy of any disciplinary action against Kadri.

Did Craig Berube’s comments add fuel to the fire?

Speaking with the media, Aliu disclosed that Kadri felt unsafe at the Avalanche’s team hotel in St. Louis, in part due to the quantity and intensity of the threats made on social media. Aliu also stated that there was in fact an additional police presence stationed in front of the hotel, before going on to criticize the Blues’ coach for what he believes were incendiary comments that only serve to make matters worse. “Berube is not one that should be talking about reputation,” Aliu said. “The guy is on record for calling another player a ‘monkey’ but he’s talking about reputation.”

Aliu’s reference concerns a rather questionable moment which occurred back in 1997 when Berube was still a player in the NHL on the roster of the Washington Capitals. During a game against the Florida Panthers, Berube who has First Nations ancestry called the Panthers’ Peter Worrell who is Black, “a monkey.” Berube would be suspended for one game, but did explain that he had called Worrell on the phone to apologize, which the latter accepted saying at the time that the comment was “not in the context that it was meant.”

Nazem Kadri defends himself

Speaking post game the under fire Kadri appeared to be sincere. “I just see a loose puck, really,” he said. “It was just kind of sitting behind him. Their defenseman collided with me and pushed me into him. Had that not been the case, I don’t think I would have hit him at all.” Whether Kadri is correct or not, there is certainly one person who doesn’t see it that way and that’s Binnington himself. In what can only be considered a bizarre turn of events it would appear that Binnington threw a water bottle at Kadri while he was doing his post game interview. The Avalanche’s center actually paused mid sentence and went on to confirm that he believed it was the case before doubling down on his stance during the post game press conference. It is understood that the league will not fine Binnington for his actions.

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