December 17, 2010
Kadri could sit out against Canucks
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER — Until Nazem Kadri learns to dump and chase, he could very well have to sit and learn.
There is a good chance the Maple Leafs rookie will be watching Saturday’s Maple Leafs-Vancouver Canucks game from the press box — and who knows how many more after that — as part of the tough-love tactics employed by coach Ron Wilson.
“There definitely are things I need to fix,” Kadri said after spending practice Friday as the fourth member of the fourth line.
“I need to understand that chipping the puck in is not such a bad thing. The little turnovers at their blue line and at our blue line are things I need to change.
“I’ll get it right. I’ll get my head around it. It caught me off-guard a bit. I’ve been going hard and I think things have been going pretty good but I guess there are things I need to improve.”
Kadri has just two points in his past 11 games while going minus-6.
“I’ve been getting chances but they haven’t been going in,” he said. “I’ve been through this before. I know how to handle it. The difference from junior is, the little mistakes don’t get noticed as much there.
“I’ll deal with it. Everything will turn out.”
Kadri seems to be quite confident that he can turn things around — perhaps surprisingly so, given the tough assessment of his play offered by his coach.
While Wilson did not address the media at Rogers Arena after practice Friday, he was quite candid in his portrayal of Kadri’s performance during an interview on AM-640’s Bill Watters Show.
“Nazzie’s not up here to check.” Wilson told the Watters Show, “He’s here to put points on the board. It hasn’t been happening and he’s been turning pucks over a lot.”
Wilson said Kadri needs to start listening to what he is preaching.
“Telling him every time he comes off the ice: ‘You’ve got to get that puck in deep, that was a risky play,’ and you go out and do the same thing again, sometimes sitting out for a game, he’ll understand that I’m serious and that’s he got to put the work in in practice.” Wilson said.
“A little reset’s is going to do him good.”
There is also a suspicion within the organization that the 15 pounds of muscle Kadri added during the off-season might actually had a negative effect on the Leafs forward.
“He’s put weight on and I’m not exactly convinced right now personally after watching that he can play at 190 pounds because he’s still being pushed around and he seems to be a little bit slower,” Wilson said.
“That’s just something we have to discuss as an organization. Maybe he’s a 170-pound player. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as he’s quick and can get out of danger.”
Whether it’s dumping some weight or dumping in pucks, the bloom seems to be coming off the Nazem Kadri rose.