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Mady: Kadri hit on Ceci – the true story

Though the Toronto Maple Leafs have done a remarkable job of climbing up the eastern conference standings in their last fifteen contests, the game against the Ottawa Senators this past weekend was still a big one for both teams. Now, I’m not going to pretend like I’m not a fan of the Senators. I may be a journalist with the duty of remaining fair and balanced in my communications with little to none of my opinion present in my work, but I will never surrender my fandom as I grew up cheering on the game of hockey, and the Ottawa Senators, specifically. It was a large part of my childhood and played a significant role in the decision making process  in terms of what career path I wanted to take, much like it probably was for the majority of other sports reporters.

With that background, I’ll now detail the moments, from my observation, leading up to the game-changing hit, a controversial impact made Saturday, Feb. 1.

I wanted to watch the game that night, like any Senators or Maple Leafs fan would’ve. Coincidentally, I also wanted to try a sports bar I’d never been to in the Toronto area. I suggested the idea to my girlfriend, and with some haggling, I managed to secure her acquaintance for the game by agreeing to go to yoga with her the next morning (we ended up being too lazy to wake up for it). Not too long after, we arrived at the bar — which was, for lack of a better term, bumpin’. The place was packed like any good Toronto sports bar should’ve been, especially when the much-hated Ottawa Senators were in town. 

The food was good, the drinks were good — and we were having a fun start to the evening. As for my childhood-seeded hopes for the Sens, I had predicted earlier in the day that they were going to lose even though Ottawa has an all-time winning record against Toronto ( 49-39-3-7).  Why? Because, like many other Sens fans know, it seems like they can never catch a break against the blue and white. So, relying on this false sense of intuition, I chose the Leafs to win despite this intuition’s lack  factual evidence {other than Toronto’s playoff record against Ottawa). You can probably imagine that I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the first period.

Despite being outshot 9-7 by the end of the first, the Senators were sporting a 1-0 lead. Heck, it even appeared as though they controlled the play for the majority of the first frame though the score was locked at 0-0 until Chris Neil’s last-minute goal. It was more of the same in the former half of the second period.

Six minutes and 46 seconds in, Colin Greening fired one top shelf following a 2-on-1 created by Chris Neil stripping the puck off a seemingly unaware Jake Gardiner in the neutral zone. Two-nothing Ottawa.

Let me now be clear. 2-0 is not a safe lead, but a team that establishes it is generally beginning to show signs of game control. But 6:55 later, after two or three failed attempts at clearing the zone by Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson, James van Riemsdyk got the puck on his stick and hit a streaking Phil Kessel who slid the puck into the open twine. Note: Jared Cowen failed to contain Kessel as he crashed the net. Ottawa, 2, Toronto, 1.

A minute and 35 seconds later, Jared Cowen retrieved the puck along the boards in his own zone, and shovelled it around to Cody Ceci who had turned to face the boards to receive the pass behind his net. Nazem Kadri, who was originally gliding through the slot toward Cowen who had just passed the puck, changed his direction, took two strides and dumped Ceci head first into the boards. On the bar’s big screen, blue with white trimmed sleeves shot up beside the glass outlining the ice in reaction as Kadri went for the loose puck. Cheers also erupted from the bar. Back on the ice, Kadri made a quick pass to the Joffrey Lupul’s stick which snapped the puck passed Craig Anderson from the slot. The Air Canada Centre goal horn roared much like the the crowd in the bar — but they were louder the second time around. Mind  you, this all happened in a split-second, yet, my arms were extended out in front of me, palms open — wondering why Paul Devorski’s hand had not shot up to call what appeared to be not only boarding, but a hit  from behind.

Before you feverishly try to comment “get over it, he turned”, look at the evidence.

It appears, originally, that Kadri made original body contact with Ceci from the side.


From that angle of contact, it looks like Kadri would’ve hit Ceci squarely into the boards. I’ll even go as far as saying Ceci shouldn’t have even lost his footing had Kadri hit him properly. What I mean begins to be revealed as the frames evolve. Note: If you watch the footage, Ceci’s skates are firmly planted once the puck is on his stick. He doesn’t rotate or move any more after that. The rest of the hit came after he had stopped completely.


You can see in this next frame that Ceci’s upper and lower body are now perpendicular to each other and his head is on its way to the boards. Meanwhile, Kadri is now directly behind Ceci, the frame of reference for this being Kadri’s right skate, which is pointing in the exact same direction as Ceci’s.

But how is this possible if Kadri hit him from the side?


Besides focusing on the frame where the hit takes place, there were no other alterations made to the photo. In fact, I won’t even make any further arguments about these photos because they speak for themselves.

The question that remains: If the hit was from the side, how did Ceci end up hitting the boards head first at Kadri’s midsection height? The answer to that would be better explained by a physics professor, but my rudimentary explanation will have to do. Essentially, Kadri may have touched Ceci with his body from the side — but when Kadri actually followed through with the brunt of the hit, the bulk of his body was directly behind the Senators defensemen, resulting in all of his momentum and force being transferred to Ceci’s backside. Quite simply, a hit from behind as well as boarding, judging by Ceci’s distance from the boards when the hit was made.

But Devorski missed it. Instead, what he must’ve seen was Kadri going for the puck while Ceci was in the process of getting up slowly. The crowd was ecstatic. “Probably a big hit on the forecheck,” Mr. Devorski must’ve said in his head, barely able to hear himself think — before, of course, pointing at the net just after the puck had hit the back of it.

Well — according to Zack Smith, who got two hefty swings in on Kadri following the goal, the clean aspect of the hit was being seriously questioned. Now, I’m not saying Ottawa fans would’ve reacted any differently had it been Chris Neil hitting Jake Gardiner from behind followed by a quick goal. With the temporary ignorance and primal reaction on display from fans at sporting events, they would’ve been cheering just as loud for the hit, and even louder for the goal. But what was even more fascinating was the CBC commentary. Here’s how the play was announced by Jim Hughson:

*Kadri hit*



“A hard hit and a big goal for Joffrey Lupul it’s 2-2.”

Glenn Healy shortly after:

“We have seen Kadri many a time use his physical dominance and presence — skill guys that do it, your teammates respect you…”

I suppose it would’ve taken an unconscious Cody Ceci for the announcers to redirect their commentary from how “skillfull” Kadri’s actions were. And the league didn’t even take a second look, but I can guarantee you with every ounce of certainty that the department of player safety would’ve acted on this had Ceci been injured. But why should it have to come to that?

Of course, writing this won’t turn back time, but justice doesn’t get served if no one fights for it. And I’m sure Chris Neil will do just that when Nazem Kadri and the Maple Leafs are back in town April 12.

Jordan Mady
Jordan Mady grew up playing hockey and is now aiming to make a career alongside it through writing. He is currently a journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto. Jordan is also a video blogger and author.
Jordan Mady
Jordan Mady
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