The verdict is in: Nazem Kadri has been suspended 3 games for his collision with Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Here’s the suspension video from the Department of Player Safety:
Well, I’ve complained about it already, all that’s left to do is look forward.
The Leafs face the prospect of three games without Kadri, Bozak and Bolland. Doesn’t matter if it’s against the Sabres, it’s really difficult to win games in the NHL without your top three centers. Having to move JvR to center on its own has certainly had its impact in terms of the top line’s offensive production, and the Leafs just lost their remaining skilled natural centre for the next three games.
Are the Leafs going to try out Mason Raymond, who played some center in Vancouver, down the middle? One would assume that would mean Josh Leivo would be recalled to jump in on the wing, or Spencer Abbott, who has points in eleven straight for the Marlies (a franchise record). The Leafs would have to send Liles back down to the Marlies to recall a forward as they’re up against the roster limit.
Another option is to call up Trevor Smith and go JvR – McClement – Smith – Smithson at center.
I think they play it safe and bring Smith back up. They may give McKegg a game, but personally, I don’t see him as a good option. Truth be told they lack serious depth down the middle. Smithson went from no job to AHL PTO to Leafs second line in three weeks.
Here were the practice lines following the hearing:
Practice Lines: Raymond-JVR-Kessel. Lupul-McClement-Clarkson. Ashton-Smithson-Kulemin. McLaren-Kadri-Bodie-Orr.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) November 14, 2013