Me and a few friends drove down for the Knights and Rangers playoff game. On the way down in bumper to bumper traffic I informed my friends (who are not as deeply invested in these types of things as I seem to be), that the London goalie has horrific numbers and that 3 goalies already eliminated from the playoffs STILL have better numbers than him. It would be a goal filled game.
We wouldn't be disappointed.
He allowed 8 goals, while the Rangers goalie allowed 7. Frankly, neither goalie looked good at all. But for three guys sitting in plain clothes, there to see a future Leaf, with no real care about which team won or lost, it was as entertaining a hockey game as I've maybe ever seen.
20 big time hits you almost never see in the NHL anymore.
2 goals and 1 assist for Kadri.
Seeing Nazem for the first time live was awesome but not all positive.
1. He was by far the most talented player on the ice.
2. He's always banging his stick for the puck which was kind of annoying.
3. Nobody on the team can actually get him the puck regularly, which is even more annoying because he could have had 5 goals.
4. Kitchener fans HATE HATE HATE him. Every time he touched the puck they rained down boo's. I asked a fan why, and I was reminded that Kadri used to play in Kitchener but wanted to play at "home" in London.
5. Kadri seems almost disinterested unless he's on the rush. Not exactly showing warrior-like backchecking either. I thought he looked a bit disinterested since it was a playoff game.
6. There is an incredible cockiness about him that I actually like and opposing fans hate. Nothing wrong with having tons of confidence. I think it's simply the result of him playing in a league he probably outgrew a year ago though, I didn't see him act like this in the NHL.
7. His teammates do seem to like him. They are always over talking to him between plays and while he wears the "A" he more the captain. When a Kitchener player low bridged him in the 2nd period, the smallest guy on London went apeshit and took an instigator penalty trying to punch the Rangers player's head off. So he seems to be a good teammate.
Overall, I can see why he lit it up in the NHL pre-season because even if he had John Mitchell skating beside him last night giving him the puck with some precision, he easily would have scored a few more. He knows how to sneak into scoring spots and when he takes off out of his zone he ends up slowing up to wait for his teammates which just kills the buzz, frankly.
I was impressed that he scored both his goals with shots from 25-30 feet away from the net. The Leafs wanted him to work on improving his shot this year. Looks like he's accomplished that.
He also plays the point on the PP and won all his faceoffs or at least most of them, which shows that against OHL players he has more to his game than just scoring. We'll see if that's the case in the NHL.
I wish that he could have played this season in the AHL because he really does look like his talent is completely wasted playing against OHL competition. He now has 25 points in the playoff. That's in only 9 games. It's a shame he's not on the Marlies right now. Can he go there if London get eliminated before the Marlies season is over?