There are a lot of fans emotionally displaced today because of a unraveled Chicago Blackhawks team. A team that has blown Game #1 AND Game #2 of a series they now do not deserve to win.
Unfortunately, Blackhawks fans, you have no one to be angry with than your beloved players you’ve backed all year. Mr. John Jaeckel sums up the Blackhawks play nicely in his latest “You Can’t Have It Both Ways” piece on Hockeybuzz.com. He states that if the Hawks are going to continuously take dumb penalties (Bickell, Seasbrook, etc.) up by 1 goal, what does everyone expect the outcome to be?
Now, let’s get to the Seabrook hit. Brent Seabrook in no way is a dirty player. He’s actually been on the other side of those hits more then he’s dished out. He was sensitive to that in his post game interview last night. I do not believe he meant to hurt David Backes.
Maybe Seabrook was reading too much into the headlines. The big, bad Blues will be too much to handle for the Hawks physically. Maybe he was sick of seeing his teammates targeted with crushing blows for the last few seasons. The reality is, the best revenge is shaking the other teams hand at the end of the round when you are sending them on their farewell. This reality has been true to the Blackhawks game over the past few seasons. There’s no better example then watching the Vancouver Canucks unravel themselves over the years, while the Hawks beat them where it counted, on the scoreboard.
Here’s my take. Brent Seabrook deserves the 3 game suspension he received today but the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. It stings to lose him for 3 games (if the Hawks last that long) in a series like this where he is the most physical defencemen the Blackhawks own. What’s to come might not sting as much as his over-aggressive hit cost the Hawks Game #2 of this series.
All momentum sways towards the Blues heading to the Windy City. Now the Hawks will ice a defence that will surely need to play their best hockey of the season if this is to go the distance. Sure, the Blues will be without David Backes for the foreseeable future and I personally hope he recovers in time to play some hockey this season.
Many fans can take the angle that Backes deserved an outcome like this, as it’s been a long time coming. I will not sit here and defend him, nor will Tomas Holmstrom, Matt Stajan, Jamie McGinn or that skinny European dude who was nearly murdered in International play in 2009. He is by no means a “clean” player. St. Louis fans admit that they would probably hate him if he didn’t suit up for the Blues. However, you shouldn’t, and Brent Seabrook definitely doesn’t wish an injury upon any player.
I do challenge your feedback on the GIFs below. One is Chicago Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews getting launched in the boards by Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik. The second is the Seabrook suspension.
Before you offer your comments, consider these factors:
* Seabrook’s hit was late and Backes was without the puck
* Seabrook launched himself into Backes with his arm down and connected with Backes head with his shoulder
* Seabrook did not leave his feet
* The refs did not call a penalty on the Seabrook hit originally, then convened for a 5 min Charging + Game Misconduct
* Seabrook is an honest and (was) a suspension/fine free player
* This series has had a handful of bone-crushing hits
* Backes had his head down
* Backes suffered an injury on the play
* Orpik’s launched himself into Toews with his arm down connecting with his shoulder, then head in the same spot as Backes hit
* Orpik did not leave his feet
* Orpik has been suspended (1) time before
* Toews had his head down on the play
* Toews suffered an injury on the play and missed the remainder of the regular season
* Orpik did receive a penalty on the play, nor a second look by the league
Seabrook’s hit was labelled as interference and charging by the NHL in their explanation of the suspension. I do think there needs to be a little more consistency with the league in these verdicts. I know I’m not alone.
What are you thoughts on the Seabrook hit?
~ The Blackhawks find themselves in a 0-2 deficit heading home in this series. I have to hand it to the Blues with their grit and determination to win these games. It really reminds me of someone… oh right, the past shells of what the Hawks used to be. Can they regain their “magic”?
~ Hawks were #24th in the league in OT/SO wins in the regular season with 7. They were 4-7 at home and a 3-8 record on the road. Furthermore, they are 0-6 all-time vs. the St. Louis Blues in the Playoffs.
~ Without Seabrook, the Hawks will utilize their defensive depth. The same depth that Bowman considered their strength in their 2013 Cup win. Hjalmarsson is having a nice series (moreso in Game #2) and has thrived in situations like this (ie. Duncan Keith’s suspension). Duncan Keith will be playing a lot of hockey these next few games.
~ With that being said, lineup changes are happening on the backend and I wouldn’t be surprised if their is a different look upfront. The Hawks best line heading into the playoffs was a 3-some of Bickell-Regin-Morin; the latter 2 have been in the press box to start this series. And that, is what I feel that they’ve been missing, chemistry. With so many injuries down the stretch, time to go back to some familiarity Q. Here’s the lineup I would ice, but hey, what do I know:
~ Al Cimaglia with a great line on twitter after Saturday’s loss: “If Hawks come back in this series there is no need to question their character ever again. These 2 losses couldn’t have hurt more.” Let’s see if they have enough in the character tank Al, let’s see.
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: NHL
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.