Kukla's Korner

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Nazem Kadri Is A Changed Man

from Kristina Ruiherford of Sportsnet,

Kadri has had a big mouth his whole career — just ask his dad, Sam (who also swears Tom Cochrane came on the radio singing “My boy’s gonna play in the big league” seconds after his son was born). Of course, that mouth is only a miniscule part of what Kadri does to try to make life difficult for some of the best in the world, but it comes in handy while doing a job he never dreamt he’d do. “Never for a second,” he says, did he figure he’d be a shut-down guy. But on the heels of a career-best campaign that saw him put up 32 goals and 61 points while also often facing the opposing team’s best, Kadri proved he’s an elite two-way forward, something he’d shown glimpses of earlier in his career. Heading into this season, there’s a different feeling for the 26-year-old from London, Ont. “I’m already proven,” he says, his gaze steady and unblinking beneath the brim of a black ball cap. “I’m established.”

Kadri will be the first to admit it took time and many a mistake to get established. Five years ago, his AHL coach basically called him fat. Two and a half years ago, he was suspended three games for sleeping through part of a team meeting, and he figured his days in Toronto were numbered: “I didn’t know if I was coming or going.” It took a reinvention on and off the ice for the seventh-overall pick in 2009 to become the integral part of this team many expected he would be. “He’s really comfortable in his own skin now — that’s the best way I can put it,” says Leafs GM, Lou Lamoriello. “And we’re comfortable because of it.” As the Leafs brass should be, because Kadri thriving up the middle has come just in time for a Toronto team that, for the first time in a long time, actually inspires hope for the future.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nazem+kadri

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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