Evander Kane made a questionable hit on Nazem Kadri during the Oilers’ 4-2 Game 3 loss to the Avalanche. He is now facing discipline for his actions.
NHL Player Safety announced on Twitter that they would be holding a hearing with Kane on Sunday to discuss the boarding call.
Edmonton’s Evander Kane will have a hearing today for Boarding Colorado’s Nazem Kadri.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) June 5, 2022
And later that day, the NHL announced that Kane would be suspended one game as a result of that play.
Edmonton’s Evander Kane has been suspended for one game for Boarding Colorado’s Nazem Kadri. https://t.co/1zUiUo0LZb
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) June 5, 2022
Kane has been disciplined frequently during his NHL career. Before Sunday’s suspension, his most recent ban came in October of 2021 when the league suspended him 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.
Here’s what to know about Kane’s hit and why the NHL suspended him for one game as the Oilers look to overcome a 3-0 series deficit against Colorado.
MORE: Evander Kane’s timeline of trouble during his NHL career
Evander Kane’s hit on Nazem Kadri
Kane’s hit on Kadri occurred just over a minute after the Oilers vs. Avalanche game began. The Oilers winger was chasing Kadri in his defensive zone and attempted to prevent him from getting to the puck.
Kadri tried to box Kane out while going to the corner to play the puck. Kane checked from behind and the Avalanche forward went down head-first into the boards. He stayed down after the hit and Kane was whistled for a penalty.
Evander Kane gets a five-minute major penalty for this hit on Nazem Kadri pic.twitter.com/wycyNWdDbc
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 5, 2022
Kadri had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return to the game. He has already been ruled out for the rest of the series and could be out longer, per coach Jared Bednar.
Meanwhile, Kane was whistled for a five-minute major but wasn’t ejected from the contest. The NHL rulebook states that boarding penalties resulting in a head injury automatically result in the ejection of the offender. Evidently, it was unclear to referee Wes McCauley and his crew whether Kadri had suffered a head injury on the play.
Kane maintained that the result of the hit was “unfortunate” and that he was preparing for a reverse hit from Kadri.
“I was just coming in on the backcheck,” Kane told reporters after the game, per NHL.com. “Puck went wide, kind of dribbled into the corner. I know he likes to reverse hit. I was just trying to get a bump on him, that’s really all I did. Unfortunately he went into the boards awkwardly and hurt his hands. But that was unfortunate.”
The Avalanche had a different view of the hit, and captain Gabriel Landeskog criticized Kane for the way he hit Kadri on the play.
“I don’t like [the hit]. It gives you the chills down your spine,” Landeskog told reporters after the game. “You’re taught from a young age you don’t do that, especially in that distance from the boards.”
“It’s a dangerous play,” he added. “I’m sure they’ll take a look at it.”
MORE: Latest updates on Nazem Kadri after Evander Kane’s hit
NHL explains Evander Kane suspension
Indeed, Kane’s hit on Kadri got the attention of the NHL’s department of player safety, which reviewed it on Sunday. They held a hearing with Kane and announced after it that he would be suspended one game for the play.
The NHL explained its decision via a video on its official website.
“It is important to note that this is not a scenario in which Kadri puts himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to the hit in a way that turns a legal check into an illegal one,” the NHL explained. “While we acknowledge that Kadri positions himself in front of Kane to shield the puck, this action is not a sudden or sharp movement that changes the nature of Kane’s hit in a way that he cannot control.
“And while we acknowledge Kane’s argument that Kadri loses his footing as he approaches the boards, we believe that this is a direct result of the shove and is not an unavoidable occurrence that causes an unfortunate accident. The shove is delivered at a dangerous distance from the boards while the two players are traveling at speed and causes an injury.”
It’s unclear whether Kane would have received similar punishment if the officials had given him a game misconduct penalty during Game 3 in addition to the five-minute major he received. The point is now moot, however, and Kane will be out for Game 4.
The NHL also certainly considered Kane’s checkered history while determining his suspension.
MORE: Why Evander Kane wasn’t ejected for hit on Nazem Kadri
Evander Kane suspension history timeline
Kane has been subject to numerous suspensions and fines during his NHL career. Below is a brief run-down of each of his suspensions prior to the hit on Kadri:
2014: Suspended two games for boarding Clayton Stoner
Kane’s first suspension came five years after he was first drafted into the NHL. He checked Ducks forward Clayton Stoner from behind and into the boards with just seconds left in the second period.
Kane was assessed a major penalty and ejected from the game in addition to being suspended.
“The onus is entirely upon Kane to avoid this check completely or, at the very least, minimize contact,” NHL VP of player safety Patrick Burke said when announcing the suspension, per CBC. “Kane does neither.”
2016: Suspended one game for missing practice with the Sabres
This was a bit different than Kane’s other suspensions, as this was a team-imposed suspension. He missed practice with the Sabres after attending the NBA All-Star Game, and the team opted to suspend him for one game as a result.
“He slept in, called Tim and myself, broke a team rule,” then-Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said to The Buffalo News. “We’ll be dealing with it internally but he will not be playing in Ottawa. I’m disappointed.”
“It’s something that never should have happened,” Kane said of the suspension. “It’s something that I can promise you won’t happen again and it’s something I’m definitely going to learn from.”
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2018: Suspended one game for cross-checking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Kane’s second suspension for on-ice conduct during a game came in 2018 when he was with the Sharks. He cross-checked Golden Knights winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare twice after the play had ended, and the NHL department of player safety decided that deserved a suspension.
“This cross-check occurs well after the whistle has blown and serves no purpose other than as a strike to an opponent’s head,” the NHL said in a video announcing the suspension. “This is not a hockey play. In addition, it is important to note that while Kane asserts he did not strike at an opponent’s head, there are two cross-checks on this play.”
2019: Suspended three games for making physical contact with an official
Kane found himself in trouble in 2019 during another Sharks vs. Golden Knights game. However, this time his trouble stemmed from an altercation with an official.
Kane was restrained by an on-ice official after a spat he had with Deryk Engelland in the third period of the contest with Vegas leading 5-1. The official accidentally brought Kane to the ground, which he didn’t take kindly; he spun around and took a swipe at the official, making contact with him on the shove.
The contact wasn’t egregious, but sports leagues always protect their officials. As such, Kane was ejected from that contest and suspended for three games, a standard procedure in the NHL rulebook.
Kane wasn’t a fan of the “baffling” call on the ice, and probably felt the same about his suspension.
“I get kicked out of the game for getting jumped from behind by the referee,” Kane said, per TSN. “I’ve never seen a ref take five strides. If you look at his face he’s getting all his power and he’s trying to drive me into the ice, which is what he did. That’s unbelievable. Talk about abuse of an official? How about abuse of a player? It’s an absolute joke.
“I was just skating up the ice, whistle went, minding my own business and next thing you know I get driven into the ice by one of the officials, for doing nothing. I wasn’t even engaged with one of their players. Explain that to me, how I get kicked out of the game for that? Baffling.”
2020: Suspended three games for elbowing Neal Pionk
Kane drew the ire of the NHL again in 2020 after a dangerous hit he made on Jets forward Neal Pionk. He came in high to hit Pionk in the corner, and his elbow struck him in the head.
Nasty elbow from Evander Kane on Neal Pionk pic.twitter.com/SnHWYyBlgx
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 15, 2020
The NHL suspended Kane for three games, tying his “abuse of an official” suspension as the longest of his career to that point. Once again, Kane wasn’t happy with the NHL and called out the department of player safety for “picking and choosing” their targets in a tweet.
MY STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/taoALpVmvn
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) February 15, 2020
2021: Suspended 21 games for faking COVID-19 vaccination card
Kane’s most recent suspension was his most egregious. The NHL banned him for “conduct detrimental to the league” after he faked his COVID-19 vaccination card.
The NHL banned Kane for a quarter of the 2021-22 season as a result. The forward showed some contrition and apologized to the Sharks in a statement.
I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols. I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.
Still, it wasn’t enough to save his standing with the Sharks. He was released by the team after his suspension ended. He remained unsigned for a couple of weeks before the Oilers picked him up in late January.
MORE: Evander Kane’s 21-game suspension, explained
These suspensions are not the only controversies that Kane has faced during his career. He has been accused of assault, sexual assault and betting on NHL games over the last decade. He also declared bankruptcy in November of 2019 as a result of gambling debts.