Bruins

Nazem Kadri suspended for rest of Bruins-Leafs playoff series for cross-check

Nazem Kadri suspended for rest of Bruins-Leafs playoff series for cross-check

TORONTO – The Bruins won’t have to worry about the antics of Nazem Kadri for the rest of the first round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The greasy Maple Leafs forward was suspended “for the rest of the playoff series against the Boston Bruins” by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his cross-check to the face of Jake DeBrusk in Boston’s 4-1 win in Game 2 on Saturday night. Kadri and DeBrusk were taking runs at each other for the balance of the chippy, rough playoff contest, but Kadri clearly lost control after watching DeBrusk check Patrick Marleau into the corner stanchion by the B’s bench.

The NHL Department of Player Safety made it clear in the accompanying video that they didn’t like what Kadri did away from the puck, and using his stick as a weapon aimed at the head of an opposing player: “This is not a hockey play. Instead this is a player retaliating against an opponent by using his stick as a weapon to make forceful and direct head contact. Players are simply not permitted to flagrantly violate league playing rules because they feel retribution is justified.”

The NHL Department of Player Safety also mentioned Kadri’s status as a repeat offender having been suspended a year ago in the playoffs, and that he’s also been suspended for a retaliatory cross-check to the head in the past having done something similar to Detroit’s Luke Glendening.

It marks the second straight postseason that the hot-headed Kadri has taken himself out of a playoff series against the Bruins after he was suspended for three games last spring for checking Tommy Wingels’ head into the boards. It also depletes Toronto’s center depth that was expected to be a big advantage for them in the first round playoff series, and leaves the Leafs without one of their best two-way players in a series where they could have really used him. 

Here's how Leafs' lineup could change without Kadri>>>

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Bruins trade target Tyler Toffoli dealt to Canucks

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Bruins trade target Tyler Toffoli dealt to Canucks

If the Boston Bruins are planning on making a big move before the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 24, their options are dwindling.

One of their rumored trade targets, Tyler Toffoli, was dealt by the Los Angeles Kings to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, according to TSN's Darren Dreger.


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Ex-Bruin Tim Schaller is headed to L.A. in the deal along with prospect Tyler Madden and a second-round pick, per TSN's Bob McKenzie.

Back in January, it was reported by Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman the Bruins "could do a deal for Toffoli almost at any time" and "have that in their hip pocket." Now, Boston is forced to look in another direction. New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider is another player linked to the B's in trade rumors.

Toffoli, who had spent all of his eight-year career with the Kings, has 18 goals and 16 assists in 58 games this season.

The Bruins will see Toffoli and the Canucks on Saturday when they face off in Vancouver.

All things considered, the Bruins are in a pretty good cap situation

All things considered, the Bruins are in a pretty good cap situation

Ahead of the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the Bruins have ample cap space to make a deal without requiring much in the way of roster gymnastics.

The Bruins hold roughly $3.1 million in salary cap space according to the invaluable CapFriendly.com, and that’s with a full roster utilizing all 23 spots along with a couple B’s players currently on long-term injured reserve as well.

Some of that is thanks to the $2.5 million cap hit for the injured Kevan Miller that’s never been on the Bruins books at any point this season. And some of that is thanks to the Bruins burying David Backes’ contract in the AHL more than a month ago.

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What it means is that the Bruins can make a decent deadline deal without being forced to dump salary, and would only be pushed into making moves to free up cap space if it were for an impact player with a substantial cap hit in the $5 plus million range.

The Bruins’ cap situation gives the Bruins some room to work while also boasting a roster that’s put up the most points in the NHL midway through the month of February.

That’s a pretty darn good situation to be in for Sweeney and Co. at the deadline coming off a Stanley Cup Final-worthy season.

For example, the Bruins were interested in Blake Coleman’s services prior to the New Jersey forward getting dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning and it would have required zero in cap-clearing moves to bring the speedy, feisty Coleman into the fold. That’s part of the reason the Bruins had a keen interest in Coleman in the first place as a low-cost option for the next couple of seasons.

Miller (fractured kneecap) has been skating on his own for weeks, but isn’t close to returning with legitimate question marks as to whether or not he’ll ever be healthy enough to play this season. That gives the Bruins cap space to play with ahead of next week’s trade deadline and potentially allows them to go over the cap if Miller were to somehow be healthy enough to return just ahead of Boston’s playoff run.  

There is, after all, no salary cap in the Stanley Cup playoffs and a crafty salary cap manager can use that to their advantage over the final few months of the season if the timing of an injured player’s return works out perfectly.

If the Bruins were to bring in a player like Chris Kreider or Tyler Toffoli (both in the $4.6 million range), for instance, they’d need to clear about $1.5 million in cap space ahead of the deal. The Bruins could achieve that by shipping depth guys like Anton Blidh and Jeremy Lauzon to the minors provided everybody else was healthy.

If it’s a more expensive cap acquisition like Mike Hoffman or Wayne Simmonds, then the Bruins would be forced to deal away a roster player with bottom-pairing defenseman John Moore as the most likely candidate to be shipped out of town.

The 29-year-old Moore ($2.75 million cap hit) has toggled between bottom-pairing defenseman and healthy scratch when he hasn’t been injured in his first two seasons with the Bruins. And the Black and Gold have cheaper in-house alternatives in Lauzon and Connor Clifton.

It’s never prudent for a team like the Bruins with Stanley Cup aspirations to trade away defensemen depth down the stretch. But they might not have a choice if they’re forced to go with Plan C or Plan D when the hours start counting down to next Monday’s trade deadline.