'No pictures on the scoresheet,' Kadri says of ugly goal

LANCE HORNBY, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:11 AM ET

TORONTO - Like a frequently jilted Oscar nominee, Nazem Kadri had waited a long time to make this speech.

In his case, it was for his first NHL goal, in his 21st game, in a season that was spent mostly in the minors. The first-round pick from 2009 was projected by some to make the team out of camp and be a catalyst at centre, but had a highly publicized struggle at the big-league level. Now he’s grateful to have a role in a late-March playoff push as a third-line winger.

Saturday’s goal would have been the winner until a last-minute Boston goal.

“Throw pucks on the net, good things happen,” Kadri said after his wild shot at goalie Tim Thomas missed his centre Darryl Boyce, but hit a Bruin at some point and went in. “Next thing you know, I’ve got my first goal. I saw it take a deflection and I wasn’t sure if Boycer got his stick on it or not. But I was pretty happy either way. They all count — there are no pictures on the scoresheet.

“I’ve had chances and it’s nice to finally get that monkey off of your back. The coaching staff of the Marlies and (head coach) Dallas Eakins...I told them when I first went down that I wanted them to help me and that’s exactly what they did. It’s a great development system they have down there and it gave me more confidence to be more free with the puck.”

Kadri wasn’t sure if he’d keep the goal puck or give it to his father, but it had already been taken away by the team to get mounted. In the first two games since being summoned from the farm he’d been quiet on the ice.

He is the third of four call-ups the Leafs are allowed at this late stage of this season, but he’ll be staying a lot longer with efforts like Saturday’s.


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