After Saturday’s depressing defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks fans were left wondering if the hit that Brent Seabrook delivered on Blues’ captain David Backes would garner a suspension from Patrick Burke and the NHL Player Safety Department. Well, fans need not wonder any longer, as Seabrook has been suspended for three games, meaning he’ll miss up until Game 5, if the team forces it. While many fans are in outrage over the suspension, it’s fitting, although possibly overboard.
Seabrook did something illegal. While he didn’t lead with an elbow, he did lead up into the head of Backes. This is the exact definition of charging. Seabrook didn’t even care if Backes had the puck, which he didn’t, he was going to hit Backes as hard as he could. Him leading upwards does so much damage to the head and neck region. Even if Seabrook didn’t take three strides before the hit it would’ve been dangerous.
When you add in the fact that the play was interference, it’s even more obvious that Seabrook’s dangerous hit merited suspension. While some will say that Seabrook couldn’t stop himself, Seabrook took a whole stride after Backes over-skated the puck. That gives him more than enough time to avoid a dangerous hit.
Lastly, the hit resulted in injury. I’m a big fan of punishing anyone who causes injury due to a bad decision. While a puck to the face is an accident that can’t be avoided, a hit like Seabrook’s definitely could have been. Backes had a concussion problem earlier in the season, meaning he’s prone to head injuries, and a hit like Seabrook’s, which was again to the head, can only do more damage. While Backes hasn’t been officially ruled out for Monday’s game, he seemed very dazed and in a bad way during Saturday’s ensuing scrum.
While you might not like it, Seabrook’s hit definitely merited a suspension, and I was expecting either two or three games. When the oficial ruling came down, fans should have put their allegiances aside and looked at the hit, an illegal one that caused injury, and resulted in a deserved suspension.