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Stanley Cup champion Nazem Kadri fired back at haters who believed he was a “liability” for the Avalanche after Colorado’s 2-1 Game 6 win on Sunday.
“I love you guys. That’s all there is to be said,” Kadri gushed to Sportsnet about his loyal fans from his native Canada. “I’ve had supporters in my corner from day one, never wavered. For everyone that thought I was a liability in the playoffs, you can kiss my ass.”
Kadri brought up how he thought he was done after breaking his hand in the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.
“Such a roller-coaster ride in terms of emotions,” he recalled. “Obviously I break my hand and I think I’m done. I came back, I couldn’t even tie my own skates. So I showed up to the train [who] tied my skates before every game. I don’t care, whatever it took I was going to be out here one way or another.”
Kadri’s father said it was his son’s focus and determination that helped the Avalanche star push through the hand injury.
“That hand injury was really bad,” Sam Kadri said after Game 6. “I mean, to be honest with you, I didn’t expect him to come back. So, we’re blessed. And I thank God. Thank you.”
Prior to Games 4, 5 and 6 in the Cup Final, Kadri bandaged and froze his damaged hand, and put it in a special glove for added protection.
“It was terrible. Terrible. I felt it every single shift, and it was tough,” Kadri said. “I turned a six-week (recovery) timeline into two weeks. Great medical staff helped me along the way. I couldn’t even tie my skates before the game. I had the medical trainer tie my skates before every game. So, what a war. But nothing was going to stop me from being out here.”
Kadri described the Avalanche’s victory as “picture perfect” after winning the first Stanley Cup of his career.
“It still feels like a dream, really. It feels even better than I thought it would,” he said. “This is an incredible moment, the fashion we did it, the adversity we faced, it’s picture perfect. This is incredible.”
The 31-year-old center had a crucial game-winning overtime goal in Game 4 to give Colorado a 3-1 series advantage.
Kadri added that his former Maple Leafs teammates have “been in touch” throughout the postseason.
“Those guys are still my friends. They’ll be lifelong friends of mine. And, you know, I hope the same for them,” Kadri said.
Kadri — who had two shots on goal in Sunday’s game — tallied 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 15 games this postseason.