Avalanche center Nazem Kadri still awaiting length of suspension handed down by NHL – The Denver Post

ST. LOUIS – The Avalanche won’t have center Nazem Kadri for Friday night’s Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues.

But for how long Kadri will be a spectator remained unclear as Friday morning became Friday afternoon.

The NHL’s Department of Safety announced in the morning a Zoom hearing with Kadri, who was given a match penalty in Wednesday’s third period for his illegal hit to the head of Blues defenseman Justin Faulk.

Faulk won’t play Friday, the Blues announced.

Kadri participated in the Avalanche’s morning practice.

Avs coach Jared Bednar would only reiterate that Carl Soderberg would be in the lineup for Game 3.

“He’s a veteran guy, plays really well in St. Louis and is the next man up in my opinion,” Bednar said. “Somebody else has to step up and go into (Kadri’s) place and Carl will come into the lineup and we’ll shuffle some lines around.”

Soderberg, acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline for his second tour with the Avalanche, hasn’t played since logging only 5 minutes, 44 seconds of ice time in the May 10 win at Vegas.

“Just stay sharp and be ready for the next game,” he said of his approach. “Obviously, I’m very excited to get in tonight. It will be a lot of fun.”

Tonight will be Soderberg’s 42nd career playoff game; he played all five last August for Arizona in its loss to the Avalanche.

“More depth is better than less depth,” Bednar said. “If we’re getting to where we want to go (this postseason), we’re going to need everyone.”

Down 2-0 in the series and without Faulk or defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, the Blues’ season is on the line and Bednar expects them to play accordingly.

“We know we’re going to see St. Louis’ best game to date and we have to be prepared for that and we’ll have to be a lot better than we were in Game 2,” he said.

In Game 2, the Avalanche were rolling along, leading 3-0 early in the second period before the Blues cut the lead to 3-2 and then 4-3.

“Our goal is to play a complete 60 minutes,” Bednar said. “I thought we did a lot of really good things in Game 1 and Game 2, but we didn’t play a full 60 to the standard that we’ve set for our team. Our guys are aware of that.”

The entire hockey world is aware of Kadri’s past playoff suspensions and this ban will be another chapter. It will be the third time in four postseasons he has been suspended — as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was banned three games in 2018 for boarding Boston’s Tommy Wingels and five games in ’19 for cross-checking Boston’s Jake DeBrusk. The Maple Leafs lost both series in seven games.

Bednar said Kadri was “trying to do the right thing,” on the play.

“He comes back on a tracking play, (Faulk is) getting within the danger zone of being in scoring position and Naz comes in and gets physical,” Bednar said on Thursday. “But you can see it on the tape that he catches him high.”

Kadri’s suspension is the second of this postseason — Florida’s Sam Bennett sat out the Panthers’ Game 2 loss to Tampa Bay for boarding Blake Coleman.

In the first two games, Kadri centered the second line with Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi and assisted on the Avalanche’s first goal in Game 2.