The Colorado Avalanche is cooperating with St. Louis law enforcement regarding threats made against center Nazem Kadri following their Game 3 win against the Blues on Saturday night.
The threats followed an injury to Blues goalkeeper Jordan Binnington following a collision with Kadri that ended the series.
Just six minutes and 45 seconds into the first half of Game 3, Kadri and Blues defender Calle Rosen collided with Binnington. The collision caused Binnington to suffer a lower body injury, forcing him to leave the game and knock him out for the remainder of the series. Substitute Ville Husso, who had started the postseason as the Blues’ No. 1 goaltender, came on and gave up four goals with 23 shots in the 5-2 loss. The Avalanche lead Monday night in St. Louis with a 2-1 lead in Game 4.
On Sunday, ice hockey player Akim Aliu tweeted that he had spoken to Kadri and that the avalanche center had “been subjected to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that the police had to be called.” Aliu and Kadri are founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization of current and former black hockey players that seeks to eradicate racism from the game.
Kadri is a Muslim of Lebanese descent.
“Racist attacks like this have no place in hockey and should be investigated and reported,” Aliu said.
Colorado issued a statement to the media Sunday, stating, “The Avalanche organization is aware of the threats against Nazem Kadri and is working with local law enforcement to investigate.”
After Game 3, Blues coach Craig Berube questioned Kadri’s role in the injury. “Look at Kadri’s reputation. That’s all I have to say,” he said of Kadri, who has faced multiple post-season bans, including an eight-game ban for an illegal review of St. Louis fullback boss Justin Faulk in 2021 endgames.
No penalty was awarded to Kadri in the game. The NHL Player Safety Division determined that no additional discipline was required for him.
Aliu told ESPN that Kadri felt unsafe at the Avalanche’s St. Louis team hotel, in part due to threats on social media. Because of these threats, additional police had to be stationed in front of the hotel.
Aliu also called the St. Louis coach for hints based on Kadri’s reputation.
“Berube is not someone who should talk about reputation,” Aliu said. “The guy has a record of calling another player a ‘monkey’ but he’s talking about reputation.”
Berube, who has First Nations ancestry, was banned for a game in November 1997 for calling Florida Panthers forward Peter Worrell “a monkey” while Berube was playing for the Washington Capitals. He apologized to Worrell in a phone call, and Worrell said he accepts that it “wasn’t in the context it was meant to be”.
Kadri defended his actions in Game 3.
“I just see a loose puck, really,” he said. “It was just like he was sitting behind him. Your defense attorney bumped into me and pushed me into him. If that hadn’t been the case, I probably wouldn’t have met him.”
The situation with Binnington took a strange turn after the game. Kadri did a postgame interview with TNT and spoke about the collision. He paused for a moment and then continued, finally telling the show that Binnington may have thrown a water bottle at him. In his post-match press conference, Kadri didn’t back down from that allegation.
According to The Athletic, two people confirmed it was Binnington who threw the water bottle. Multiple NHL sources told ESPN Sunday that the league would not penalize or suspend Binnington over the incident.