When asked to react to the abuse directed at Nazem Kadri, St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube could only manage 'no comment', speaking volumes for how the NHL in general tries to keep the focus on the ice when more serious things are going on off it.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Sam, you brought up there were threats made at Nazem Kadri. I know Peter Baugh my colleague at "The Athletic" has been on top of that. Not to make this a little bit more serious, but this is something we absolutely have to talk about with regards to Nazem Kadri. Like fans, be better with that sort of stuff here. You know, I don't think Nazem meant to get run into Jordan Binnington like that.
And to have it get to a point where people are threatening him online? I think that's disgusting. And yeah, I expressed some disappointment as well in Craig Berube just offering no comment. I think there's an opportunity for you even if that is not your guy, to say that you're not for guys getting any type of online and/or just any type of verbal abuse or anything like that.
There was an opportunity for him to at least say, you know, I'm not for that. And for him to just be like, no comment. Like, I just thought that was a little bit disappointing. I get that's not his guy, but I think Craig Berube there, that was a little bit disappointing just to kind of see from a distance.
- Yeah, oh that's OK, go ahead.
SAM CHANG: I think when you're at the point where it's not just a matter of online abuse and like racially motivated comments towards Kadri, which his wife and other players have said he's constantly been the subject of throughout his career. I think when you're at the point where the Blues organization and the St. Louis police are involved where the Avalanche have to get special protection for their team, I think it's embarrassing that Craig Berube said no comment.
It doesn't take a lot for you to say it is unacceptable for anyone to make those kinds of threats directed toward a player over a hockey game. Like we can debate all day whether or not Kadri meant to run into Binnington. I don't think so. I think Rosen knocked him off and I think it was accidental. But even if it were intentional, OK, like Tom Wilson does stuff like that all the time.
Players do stuff like that all the time. It happens. There is no point where it is appropriate for anyone to make any kind of threat of personal safety against a hockey player over a hockey game. It's absurd. Like, get some help.
- Yeah, honestly. Like there is no excuse or no situation where anyone should be subjected to threats or racially motivated language, like at all. And same thing, I get it. I get it. It's the playoffs. You want to focus on your own team, but that's-- there are-- any time something along this ilk or in this category happens in the NHL, I am disappointed, but I'm not surprised, you know?
This one, I don't know why, this one surprised me. I'm not going to lie. I was actually taken aback when he just full on said no comment. No one's asking you to write a eulogy. No one's asking you to talk about the hit or whatever. By commenting on this, like no one's saying that like, OK, well you're on Kadri's side or whatever. Like this goes beyond hockey. This is a human being who is being subjected to these things.
I don't think-- I don't think there's anything wrong with saying, hey St. Louis Blues fans-- or like you know fans that we want following this organization, we don't want people who are doing these type of things. Yes, games will get heated or whatever, but like this goes beyond hockey and this is a person. This is a human being who shouldn't be subjected to that type of stuff. I think just taking the no comment-- it just, it bothers me so much.
Because any time any time things happen, any time something happens, you always have organizations who say oh, we need to do better to make sure that these things are not in a place in hockey or not in a place in our society. And then when you have opportunities to do that, the bare minimum. Bare minimum, he doesn't want to do it. So again, I know people will say oh, he's focusing on the playoffs. He's focusing on the game, whatever.
But I think we've seen many instances where only focusing on the game and not focusing on the more important things have led to a lot of things. So this isn't an area where you can just focus on the game. And I think it's embarrassing is a word that I'll use, but the feeling I have towards this is so much more than that.