Nazem Kadri suspended three games for hitting Niklas Backstrom

By Brian Stubits |

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has been suspended for three games by the league for his hit to the head of Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom on Wednesday night.

In the first period of the Wild's 2-1, shootout win, Kadri was crashing the net when he bowled right into Backstrom. Brendan Shanahan said the league accepted Kadri's claim that it was unintentional but the fact remains that he should have been in more control -- by Kadri's own admission -- and he bowled right into Backstrom with force, hitting him square in the head. He wasn't pushed or steered into the goaltender.

Backstrom was down for a bit but he did stay in the game, only for a short time though. Not long after he was pulled from the game and replaced by Josh Harding.

With Kadri out three games, it puts the Leafs in a real bind at center for the next few games. They are already without Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland because of injuries. Kadri being suspended makes a thin position look annorexic.

Kadri had another hit in the game, a hit high to Mikael Granlund that earned him a major penalty and a game misconduct. That hit was not deemed to be suspension-worthy, however.

Kadri will give up $44,615.37 in salary for the three-game suspension.

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