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Barrie, Kadri renting each other's home after Maple Leafs-Avalanche trade

Toronto defenseman, Colorado center set to play one another for first time since deal

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

DENVER -- Tyson Barrie said he is relieved to be coming back here having finally scored his first goal of the season.

And he joked that the next thing on his agenda is making sure Nazem Kadri has not trashed his home here.

Barrie, a slick, puck-moving defenseman, went to the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of the trade that sent Kadri, a feisty center, to the Colorado Avalanche on July 1. The two players came to an agreement shortly afterward: Kadri would move into Barrie's Colorado residence, and Barrie would do the same at Kadri's place in Toronto.

Each will face his former team for the first time since the trade when the Avalanche host the Maple Leafs at Pepsi Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNO, SNP, ALT, NHL.TV).

But before the puck is dropped, Barrie quipped, he'll have to find out the condition of his place.

"I've got to check it out and see if I have to rip [one of his] coffee machines out of the wall [at his place] to get back at him," Barrie said with a laugh. "There's a couple of guys going over there, so I'll get the report."

Video: TOR@ARI: Barrie nets first goal with Maple Leafs

Barrie's time with the media Friday was full of smiles and light moments like that. He acted like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. In some ways, it has.

Kadri's transition with the Avalanche has been relatively seamless, but Barrie's with the Maple Leafs has been anything but. The defenseman had seven assists but no goals through 23 games entering Thursday, and he seemed to lose confidence on the puck. A variety of defensive gaffes had him looking for answers, not points.

All that seems to have changed with the arrival of Sheldon Keefe, who replaced Mike Babcock as coach on Wednesday. Barrie called it a fresh start and backed it up by scoring in Toronto's 3-1 win at the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, Keefe's first game as an NHL coach.

The key: Keefe has encouraged Barrie to show what he can do offensively whenever the opportunity arises.

"He's an important piece of what we're trying to do here," Keefe said of Barrie, who had 307 points (75 goals, 232 assists) in 484 games over eight seasons with the Avalanche.

Barrie said after the game, "I'm not going to lie, that feels good. Especially going into Denver, I didn't want to go in with no goals, so it feels a little better."

That's one of Keefe's goals, to make Barrie feel better about himself. So before the Maple Leafs practiced at the University of Denver on Friday, the coach showed his team a replay of the bench going bonkers when Barrie scored against the Coyotes.

Barrie, who hadn't seen the reaction of his teammates, was touched.

"It's cool to see guys are rooting for me," he said. "We've got a great group of guys in there, and it's an exciting time to be a Leaf."

Thanks in part to Keefe, Barrie has his swagger back. 

Kadri never lost his.

After the trade, he was immediately welcomed into the Avalanche family by captain Nathan MacKinnon, who brought Kadri to Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby's offseason camp in Vail, Colorado, to bond. Those efforts have helped Kadri feel comfortable with the Avalanche; he has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 22 games in his role as the second-line center.

Video: COL@VAN: Kadri rips short-side wrister past Demko

"I've felt a part of the team for a while now," Kadri said this week. "It's nice, everyone supporting you and welcoming you with open arms and making you feel at home. That just makes it easier for the new guys to come in and do their jobs. It's been great so far." 

Each player is trying to make the best of his new situation even though neither wanted to be traded. Barrie said he still roots for Colorado and was planning to go out to dinner with MacKinnon and a few of his former teammates Friday. At the same time, some Toronto players were scheduled to visit Kadri at Barrie's home.

"A lot of the guys I still keep in touch with," said Kadri, who had 357 points (161 goals, 196 assists) in 561 games over 10 seasons with the Maple Leafs. "I was there for a while, and I had a chance to play with them for years, but that's the great thing about hockey, you meet new people, meet new friends."

Friends will be foes until the final horn Saturday. After that, Barrie and Kadri will resume their weekly texts making sure each other's homes are all right.

"We'd met each other a couple of times just from playing against each other," Barrie said. "I wasn't going to rent my place out, and he wasn't either. We kind of just got in touch and wondered if it would work. And it did. 

"We trust each other. Kind of just stepped in to each other's homes and it's been a good fit so far. It's different. We're building a relationship, and we don't even know each other that well."

Trust isn't the only thing Barrie and Kadri share. Each said playing his former team will be strange.

"It's definitely going to maybe be a little bit weird," Kadri said, "but I'm going to try to treat it as just another game."

Barrie said, "Sure, there'll be some emotions going around. I had such a great time here, met so many good people.

"It's nice to come back." independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report

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