Minnesota Wild Coach Mike Yeo Defends Team’s Lack of Response to Nazem Kadri Hits

By Casey Drottar
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was a violent one in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Minnesota Wild were taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs, when Toronto forward Nazem Kadri decided he wanted to become public enemy No. 1.

Midway through the first period, Kadri was driving to the net and absolutely obliterated the Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. Kadri certainly wasn’t shoved into Bakstrom, and he could’ve at least tried to maneuver his way around the netminder. Instead, he appeared to throw a blatant elbow to the head of Backstrom. As a result, Kadri received a minimal two minute penalty for goaltender interference. Backstrom, in the meantime, had to leave the game.

Apparently, Kadri found the idea of just one dirty hit to be pretty boring, so he decided to throw another one into the mix. During the third period, he took a run at Wild forward Mikael Granlund, hitting up high with another head shot. This time, the refs decided to throw the book at Kadri, giving him a five minute major and ejecting him from the game. Kadri eventually received a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, where he was dealt a laughable three game suspension.

One of the hot button issues coming from all of this, though, is Minnesota’s perceived lack of response to either of Kadri’s hits. NBC Sports commentator Mike Milbury – never one to sugarcoat things – claimed somebody should’ve gone after Kadri. In response to none of his players picking a fight with the Toronto forward, Wild coach Mike Yeo claimed he didn’t want the violence to escalate.

“Do we match up against that team’s toughness? No, we don’t,” Yeo said. “If we want to start trading off, we go after Kadri, next thing you know, what are they going to go after? They’re going to go after our guys too and again we don’t match up in that toughness department against them.

“Now we do have a team that cares about each other very much, and we stick up for each other, trust me.”

Nobody is suggesting that anybody on Minnesota’s roster should’ve thrown an elbow at Kadri in response to his hits, as any sort of response like this would’ve given the Wild a suspension to deal with. However, there is logic in the idea of making sure a player knows he can’t just throw head shots around all night. With the critique coming in about the Wild’s lack of fire, expect the next game between these two teams to be more than a little edgy.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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