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Colorado Avalanche star Nazem Kadri made a big difference to the team’s pursuit of a third Stanley Cup championship, clinching his first title on Sunday.
Kadri returned to the ice during the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning after missing 18 days from an injury he sustained in the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers. He delivered the Game 4 game winner to give Colorado a 3-1 lead in the series.
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On Sunday he was able to skate with Lord Stanley’s Cup over his head. He had a message for his critics after the celebration in an interview with Hockey Night in Canada.
“For everyone who thought I was a liability in the playoffs, kiss me,” Kadri said of The Toronto Star.
He added, “It’s what I’ve worked for pretty much my whole life, so to be in this position…means the world to me. You’ve worked your whole life for it and now it’s here, so it’s an amazing feeling. “
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The Avalanche acquired Kadri in a 2019 trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and has been a key part of Colorado’s success over the past two seasons.
In 2020-21, Kadri was suspended for eight games for hitting St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk. He would not return for the playoffs as the Avalanche were eliminated.
He then came under fire for a collision with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in that year’s playoffs. Colorado would win the series before being injured in a hit by Oilers star Evander Kane.
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After thumb surgery, Kadri played a big part in the team’s Stanley Cup title.