Before deadline Maple Leafs received a rare in this season break in four days off. Coach Randy Carlisle arranged a long and hard training almost without pauses. This occupation is really necessary, although a few years ago, training at the end of the season almost did not make sense. Goalkeepers “Leafs” play better than ever since the time of Ed Belfort. They are not whipping boys, and dictate the course of matches more often than it was in recent years.
Much credit for this is, and Nazem Kadri, who leads the game in attack and played very well the zone with Joffrey Lupul, which favorably affected both statistics. The number of losses is much less compared to the AHL times. According to Kadri, this is due to his partners in the link. He believes that he did not score enough points in the pharma, because there was nobody to complete his programs, or give him comfortable passes, as it is now. “I need to play with hockey players of my caliber who see the game the same way I do, ” Kadri says. – For example, Lupul. He was also chosen as the seventh number in the draft and he knows what I went through, and he’s a very good player. I’m attracted to receiving unexpected passes to the empty gates, and it seems to me that several times I answered him the same. I do not have to play in the 3-4-m links and try to exhaust the opponent. I go out on the ice and play as I want and as I do best.”
For the head coach of Maple Leafs, Randy Carlisle, the main change was the translation of Kadri from the flank to the position of the center. From the central striker you need a much more responsible game, but he also has more opportunities to improvise in the attack. Carlisle understands that the best players in this league are those who most control the puck. If Nazem is so good at managing the puck, why not put him in a position where he can prove himself best?
And Carlisle never expressed any claims to Kadri on the game in his zone. He made the most mistakes when he tried to push the puck through the middle zone, lost it and organized an attack on his own goal. “We’re trying to take it under control, ” says Toronto’s head coach. – things like that we will not tolerate “. TE same people who believed that the frame has to play in the NHL two years ago, now claim that” Toronto “harm to themselves and to the player, giving Nazemu a leading role in the attack immediately after the way he began to show high performance in the beginning of the season. And in this situation it is necessary to pay tribute to Randy Carlisle. In the first half of the season, he did not heavily load Kadri, giving him 13-15 minutes per game. With the help of such tactics, he bred him with the best players of rivals and created a situation that only contributed to the success of Nazem. This allowed Kadri gain confidence in his abilities, and in the second part of the championship coach began to give him more playing time and more responsibility.
He does not receive even more playing minutes, partly because he still has something to work on the face-off point. But the last time that “Leafs” moved an elite player from the edge to the center, everything turned out to be the best for Mats Sundin. Needless to say, now there is less friction between the player and the club than when he was playing in the AHL or faced his former coach Ron Wilson. “We treat him like a person,” says Carlisle. – If we think that he does not try hard enough, we are directly talking about it. We rely on facts. Do not try to beat around the bush. And not only stroking the head. ”
At the moment, Kadri fully uses the opportunity presented to him, but everyone around him understands that he still has much to grow. Nevertheless, his game is impressive. For 5 games before the end of the season on his account, already two hat-tricks – a great achievement, given the shortened schedule. The last player of Toronto, who managed to make three hat-tricks in the regular season was Miroslav Fritcher in the 1985/86 season.
But even if he does not score three goals in any of the remaining matches, many factors indicate that his performance will only grow. “Maybe, according to the standards of” Leafs “, he plays well, – says Sam. – But our standards are much higher. He will never put up with the role of the average player. It’s definitely not in his genes. ”
It is possible to say with certainty that Kadri’s future salary will not be from the average. In the summer, he becomes a limited free agent, and is likely to consider a multimillion-dollar contract for a period of 8 years. “Toronto” has a place under the ceiling of salaries and resources to repeat any off-shit, if suddenly negotiations with the player are delayed. Because this guy is definitely not going to miss.