Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook has been suspended three games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his high hit that knocked St. Louis Blues captain David Backes out of the game Saturday.
Seabrook was ejected during Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series after lining up and hitting Backes in the head late in the third period. Seabrook’s elbow and shoulder connected with Backes’ head, causing the Blues forward to crash violently into the boards. Backes, who was noticeably dazed after the hit, was helped off the ice and did not return.
Seabrook apologized for the hit after Chicago’s 4-3 overtime loss, adding that he wasn’t aiming for Backes’ head.
“I was just trying to make a play on Backes,” Seabrook said, per ESPN Chicago. “I thought the puck was there. I was on (Alexander) Steen. I was just coming down the wall and I just tried to finish my hit.
“I feel bad seeing a guy like that on the ice. I’ve been there myself, and I’m not trying to target his head. I’m not trying to do anything like that. It doesn’t feel good to see a player like that lying there like that, and knowing that I hit him. It wasn’t my intent. I thought it was a hit. It’s a physical series, hits have been laid like that from both sides the whole series, so we’ll see what happens.”
The suspension, which is the first in Seabrook’s nine-year NHL career, was based on interference and charging, the NHL explained in this video.
The Blues took a 2-0 series lead with their second consecutive overtime win. Game 3 will be played Monday night in Chicago, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he didn’t know if Backes would be able to play.
“All I know is he’s upright and that’s about it right now,” Hitchcock said. “We don’t have any further information.”