Kadri responds to racist threats with hat trick: 'For those that hate, that was for them'
Nazem Kadri sent messages both on and off the ice to those who targeted him with racist threats over the last few days.
The Colorado Avalanche forward notched his first career playoff hat trick in a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their second-round series Monday night. After the game, he said he was motivated by the vitriol.
"Unfortunately, I've been dealing with that for a long time. That's sad to say, but that's just the fact of the matter," he told TNT postgame. "I'm getting good at just putting it in the rearview mirror. It's a big deal (but) I try to act like it's not, and just keep moving forward.
"That's what I do, and I know some of those messages I got (don't) reflect every single fan in St. Louis, but for those that hate, that was for them."
Kadri also singled out Blues head coach Craig Berube.
"Starting with their head coach, he made some comments I wasn't a fan of," he said, according to The Athletic's Peter Baugh. "I guess he's never heard of bulletin board material."
Kadri collided with St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington early in Game 3 on Saturday. The netminder left that contest and was later ruled out for the rest of the series. Hockey Diversity Alliance chair Akim Aliu tweeted Sunday that Kadri was "subject to so many racist attacks and threats since (Saturday night) that police had to be brought in."
After Game 3, Berube said, "Look at Kadri's reputation, that's all I've got to say." On Monday before Game 4, the bench boss declined to condemn the racist threats Kadri received, saying, "I've got no comment on that stuff."
The Avalanche center, who is Muslim and of Lebanese descent, responded with two goals in the second period and another in the third on Monday. He raised his hand to his ear in a clear message to the St. Louis crowd after notching his first marker of the night.
Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson praised Kadri after the game.
"I just want to say how proud we are of Naz to go through all that crap the last couple days," Johnson told reporters, including The Denver Post's Mike Chambers. "No person should have to go through that, and he sure responded."
"Imagine being in his situation, it can't be a fun thing," he added. "No human being should have to receive that type of treatment, especially with a hockey game. It's just insane. That being said, I think he liked being the villain tonight, and he certainly stepped up for us."
The NHLPA released a statement Tuesday denouncing the comments directed at Kadri.
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