Brent Seabrook out for tonight’s Blackhawks-Canucks gameContinue reading.
Blackhawks’ Seabrook suspended three games for hit on Backes
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended three games by the National Hockey League for his illegal check on Blues forward David Backes in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series, causing an injury that has left Backes out indefinitely.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled that Seabrook had time to avoid the hit and committed both interference and charging infractions “and delivered a violent blow” that caused an injury.
@SBNationGIF captured the moment of impact –
“Seabrook is still in the faceoff circle when Backes overskates the puck and Seabrook stakes some distance before making this hit,” an NHL spokesman said on a video released by the league. “So he has time to avoid this check completely. Instead, he skates into the hit and drives up with his right shoulder, delivering a violent blow that causes the defenseless Backes to crash dangerously into the boards.”
Seabrook will miss the next three games of the Blues-Blackhawks series: Game 3 is Monday night and Game 4 is Wednesday night at the United Center. Game 5, if necessary, will be Friday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The Blackhawks were not available for comment on the suspension. They held their mandatory media availability an hour before the penalty was announced.
But even then, the Blackhawks were expecting to be without Seabrook for at least a game or two.
“It hurts,” forward Brandon Saad said. “He’s a leader. He’s a good player and does the right things out there. But we’ve got to accept the challenge and play without him. We can’t use that as an excuse. We’ve got to rise to the challenge and play for him.”
Coach Joel Quenneville did not address the incident in any length when asked about it Sunday. Asked if Seabrook’s hit on Backes was an indication of undisciplined play, Quenneville said, “I’m not complaining about the hit at all.”
It remains to be seen how the Seabrook-Backes incident will impact the series.
“I don’t know,” defenseman Johnny Oduya said. “It’s a fast game. It’s a tough game. You want to win — that’s the bottom line and then sometimes things like this will happen. We talked about it. The only thing we can do is move forward.”
The Blues, as expected, were incensed by the play. It didn’t help that replays of the incident caught someone on the scene taunting the dazed Backes as he tried to recover from the hit. “Wakey, wakey, Backes,” was the quote. It’s difficult to determine if a Blackhawks player said it, but the Blues are responding as if one did.
“To me, it looked a little gutless from where I was standing,” Blues forward Ryan Reaves said, “and the replays I’ve seen. I saw them talking to him. It makes it a little more gutless. I don’t think there’s any need for that. He doesn’t even know where he really is. I think if they want to start getting into that battle, we can play the same way. We’ll see where it takes us.
“I’m not happy about that. I don’t think anybody in this organization is happy about it. … To see that happen I think is just embarrassing in that organization.”
Backes’ status for Game 3 is obviously in doubt. But the Hawks know now that Seabrook will not play.
“You need his size,” Quenneville said. “You need his presence, experience and leadership. He’s got the big shot on the point and he’s on our power play as well; kills penalties. So he plays all important minutes and him and Duncs [Duncan Keith] make a real good pair for us. He’s been a great pro for us.”
Veteran Sheldon Brookbank appears to be the likely roster replacement for Seabrook.
“We have Brooksie, who’s been great the times he’s played this year,” Oduya said. “Obviously losing Seabs is not ideal, but we had a game last year where we lost Duncs and the other guys had to step in and play more minutes and bigger roles and do abetter job and I think that’s something we have to look at.”
Oduya was referring to last year’s Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings, when Keith was suspended one game for slashing Jeff Carter. Without Keith, the Hawks won 3-2 at Staples Center.