The Colorado Avalanche are working with St. Louis law enforcement regarding threats made towards center Nazem Kadri after their Game 3 victory against the Blues Saturday night.
The threats followed a series-ending injury to Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington after a collision involving Kadri.
Just six minutes and 45 seconds into the first period of Game 3, Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen crashed into Binnington. The collision caused a lower body injury to Binnington that forced him to leave the game and put him out for the rest of their series. Backup Ville Husso, who started the postseason as the Blues’ No. 1 netminder, entered the game and gave up four goals on 23 shots in the 5-2 defeat. The Avalanche hold a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 on Monday night in St. Louis.
On Sunday, hockey player Akim Aliu tweeted that he had spoken to Kadri and that the Avalanche center “has been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in.” Aliu and Kadri are founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, an organization of current and former hockey players of color that is seeking 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 on,” Aliu said.
Colorado issued a statement to the media on Sunday, saying “the Avalanche organization is aware of threats made toward 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’ve got to say,” he said of Kadri, who has multiple postseason suspensions, including an eight-game ban for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in the 2021 playoffs.
There was no penalty called on Kadri on the play. The NHL Department of Player Safety determined there was no additional discipline necessary for him.
Aliu told ESPN that Kadri felt unsafe at the Avalanche’s team hotel in St. Louis, partially due to social media threats. He said there had to be additional police stationed in front of the hotel due to these threats.
Aliu also called out the St. Louis coach for making insinuations based on Kadri’s reputation.
“Berube is not one that should be talking about reputation,” Aliu said. “The guy is on record for calling another player a ‘monkey’ but he’s talking about reputation.”
Berube, who has First Nations ancestry, was suspended for one 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 accepted that it was “not in the context that it was meant.”
Kadri defended his actions in Game 3.
“I just see a loose puck, really,” he said. “It was just kind of sitting behind him. Their defenseman collided with me and pushed me into him. Had that not been the case, I don’t think I would have hit him at all.”
The situation with Binnington took an odd turn after the game. Kadri was doing a postgame interview with TNT and talking about the collision. He paused for a moment and then continued, eventually telling the broadcast that Binnington may have thrown a water bottle at him. In his postgame news conference, Kadri didn’t back off that insinuation.
According to The Athletic, two people confirmed it was Binnington who threw the water bottle. Multiple NHL sources told ESPN on Sunday that the league would not fine nor suspend Binnington over the incident.