DENVER – St. Louis Blues forward David Perron was fined $5,000, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for his cross-check on Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri during Monday night’s game.
Kadri, who suffered racist attacks after a Blues defenseman collided with him in Game 3 and they both ran into Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, putting him out for the rest of the playoffs, scored a hat trick during Monday night’s 6-3 Avalanche win.
The cross-check by Perron came 5 ½ minutes into the second period. Perron had scored his eighth goal of the playoffs in the first period to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. NHL Player Safety announced the fine Tuesday morning.
St. Louis’ David Perron has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for Cross-checking Colorado’s Nazem Kadri.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 24, 2022
But Colorado’s Erik Johnson tied the game 2:44 into the second period, and Kadri put the Avs up 2-1 with a goal 4:07 into the second, catching a shoulder from Perron has he skated off.
Shortly after Devon Toews made it 3-1 Avalanche 19 seconds later, Kadri ran into Perron as they both neared the benches, after which Pavel Buchnevich shoved him and Perron landed the cross-check on Kadri – sending both to the penalty to box with two-minute minors.
The Avalanche did not score on the 5-on-3 power play, but Kadri would score his second goal of the night about two minutes after the cross-check, putting Colorado up 4-1.
Perron scored his second goal of the night toward the end of the second period, and Buchnevich narrowed Colorado’s lead to 4-3 heading to the third period.
But Kadri gave the Avs breathing room by completing the hat trick, scoring his third goal of the night 9:38 into the third. Mikko Rantanen finished Game 4 off with an open-net goal, assisted by Kadri, just before the end of regulation.
“For those that hate, that one’s for them,” Kadri told the TNT crew after the game regarding the racism and insults that had been thrown his way by some fans in St. Louis. He acknowledged the crowd after his first two goals, who returned the favor with boos.
“I know that they’re booing me and what-not, but that’s what being a fan is,” Kadri said. “As a home team and a home player, you want the fans on your side and heckling the other team, as long as it’s within the guidelines. I’ve got no issues with that and I know what was said isn’t a reflection on every single fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear. But for those that wasted their time sending messages like that, I feel sorry for them.”
The NHL Players Association issued a statement saying it strongly condemns the hateful statements directed toward Kadri and his family.
“The comments recently directed at Nazem Kadri online have no place in our society,” the NHLPA said. “Notwithstanding fans’ rooting interests during the highly competitive playoffs, such racist, hate-filled speech directed at anyone is completely unacceptable. Nazem and his family should never be subjected to the comments they have endured this week.”
Head coach Jared Bednar and Kadri’s teammates praised him for keeping cool and boosting the Avs after two days of abuse.
“We’re proud of him as a group and we have a task that we’re trying to complete and Naz understands that and it’s unfortunate he has to deal with it and he knows that we’re all with him and that’s what we care about,” Bednar said.
The Avalanche can close out the series Wednesday with a win against St. Louis. They will be back in Ball Arena, where they are 3-1 so far in the playoffs and had a league-best home record during the regular season, going 32-5-4.