DENVER — Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri’s eight-game suspension was upheld by an independent arbitrator Wednesday.
Kadri will not play in the next two games of the West Division final against the Golden Knights and is not eligible to return unless there is a Game 7 on Saturday.
Kadri was suspended May 21 for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs.
He previously appealed to commissioner Gary Bettman, who upheld the NHL Department of Player Safety’s ruling and said it was “supported by clear and convincing evidence.”
Kadri then appealed to independent arbitrator Shyam Das, but had his case denied in a binding ruling.
“I don’t think our game plan changes whether he’s in the lineup or not,” Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “We have to continue to build off our game and what we do well.”
Kadri centered the Avalanche’s No. 2 line during the regular season and had 11 goals and 21 assists in 56 games. He had one assist in two games before the suspension.
Without Kadri in the lineup, the Knights’ second line has controlled its matchup in the series. William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith produced seven of the team’s 11 goals through the first four games.
“He’s been a big part of our team all year,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Saturday. “We can rely on him to…