Quick promotion for Kadri

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:46 PM ET

His first shift back in the NHL came as a winger alongside Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.

By midway through the first period, Nazem Kadri had been switched to centre between Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

Talk about being thrown right back into the heat of battle.

“It was definitely a playoff atmosphere out there,” said Kadri after the Leafs’ 3-1 win over Carolina on Wednesday night. “It was a tough game to play but I definitely think I made some corrections in my game to make me stick.

“It’s pretty normal for me to get moved around. In my career, I’ve been moved from centre to right wing to left wing. This was no different. I feel pretty comfortable in all three positions.

“I want to help this team and be part of something special.”

Kadri did not collect any points in the game but did not make any noticeable gaffes either.

In the spotlight

As a former high first-round draft pick himself, Luke Schenn knows what Kadri is going through.

The attention. The spotlight. It’s a lot for a teenager to take in a hockey-crazed city like Toronto.

“Coming here at the start of the year, all eyes were on him at training camp and stuff,” Schenn said. “There’s all that pressure on you and all eyes on you. Watching every move. And sometimes, when you make mistakes, people come down hard on you.

“Obviously, he got called up at the start of the season. I don’t think you’d say he struggled but it’s tough getting called up as a young guy. Maybe when you don’t have success right off the bat, you grip your stick a little tighter. He’s just trying to find himself.

“He seems more confident now. He played really well for the Marlies.”

Schenn said playing for the Leafs is unique.

“Obviously, if you played in a different market you don’t get the attention,” Schenn said. “Playing in Toronto, you get a lot of attention. As a higher draft pick, people look at you to step in right away. You have to play your game no matter where you are drafted. There’s a lot of pressure.

But over time, I think Naz is going to be a great player for us. I think his stint in the minors will be very helpful to him.”

Ex-Leafs thriving in N.C.

A couple of familiar faces were in the starting lineup for Carolina in the form of forward Jiri Tlusty and defenceman Jay Harrison.

According to Canes coach Paul Maurice, both have played well.

“Jiri’s up playing with Brandon Sutter, a couple of 22-year-old guys playing against the other team’s best,” Maurice said. “We’re happy with his development.

“Jay Harrison has been spectacular (on defence). We’ve been playing him against the other team’s best players. He’s really had a great year.

“He had no guarantees when he came into training camp, but he’s been rock solid. He looks like an NHL defenceman. If anyone has expanded his role through hard work, he’s been the guy.”


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