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HOCKEY

EAKINS, WITH NO SHORTAGE OF PRAISE, SAYS KADRI HELPED DEVELOP HIM AS A COACH

MIKE ARMENTI
MARCH 20, 2020  ·  15H49
Nazem Kadri did not have an easy transition from the amateur ranks to the National Hockey League. Labelled early to have a bit of an attitude issue, say what you will about the player, but the last thing that should be questioned about Kadri is his willingness to battle.

Sportsnet's Hockey Central panel had a chance to speak with a former coach of Kadri's, from his time in Toronto, namely, Dallas Eakins. Eakins briefly spoke to the challenges he faced with such an emotionally charged player, but if you ask Eakins, he would tell you that Kadri is a guy who would be loved in just about any dressing room in the NHL.

"Naz is one of these players, he really helped develop me as a coach and I'm always going to be grateful for that and you know, Naz, you know, he had his thoughts on how he wanted to play, he had his thoughts on how he was going to train, and I had different thoughts. And the organization had different thoughts."

Not every player sees eye to eye with coaches and management, but the good ones always seem to put it all together and figure out how to find the right balance of doing what is expected of you, but also, keeping your own core values intact as a player and playing your own brand of hockey. Nazem Kadri definitely plays his own brand of hockey.

"It was a push and a pull with that young man, but I always say this about Naz; as he was developing better habits, he was a guy you wanted on your bench. He was a guy that understood what was going on in the game and he had this uncanny ability, as a very young player.. if we were maybe not all in it, he would bring us all into the fight."



Despite spending a decent length of time this season sidelined by injury in Colorado, I fully believe that anyone in that locker room would attest to the character of Kadri. He's definitely a guy you know you can go to war with and Dallas Eakins, though he does not have the luxury of coaching Kadri at this stage of his career, has definitely given his former pupil some very high praise.

"That young man has turned into a hell of a hockey player and I'm extremely proud of him."

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