Apr 19, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) is escorted off the ice by linesman Brad Kovachik (71) with a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct after after a hit on St. Louis Blues center David Backes (not pictured) during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and the Chicago Clowns

Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless if you are a fan of the Mad House on Madison and the Chicago Blackhawks, or a diehard St. Louisan who bleeds Blue, it is undeniable that the behavior of Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and assistant captain Duncan Keith in the aftermath of one of the dirtiest hits in playoff history, delivered by Brent Seabrook, was, at best, appalling and completely classless.

After the husky Hawks defenseman, Seabrook, launched his body into the head of the defenseless Blues captain, David Backes, there was no doubt to the 19,000+ at Scottrade Center that the leader of the Blues was knocked unconscious momentarily and appeared to have suffered a concussion.

And while most hockey fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to watching shots to the head and marquee players suffer brain trauma, what happened after the hit, while the Blues medical staff was attending to Backes, was something that no Blues fan, or true hockey fan, will ever forget.

With one knee still on the ice, blurred vision through a foggy half-shield and a dazed look like we’ve never seen on the face of Backes, the core leadership group of the Blackhawks decided that this was the one chance they had to get a few jabs in on Backes where they knew they had a fighting chance to win the chirp battle.

While Backes was being held up by the Blues trainer, with the help of the referee, Towes and Keith hung around the injured Backes and starting spewing pathetic lines that were caught on the game’s audio broadcast.

Keith is reported to chirp “Wakey, Wakey, Backey. Wakey, Wakey”, while Toews got up in the face of Backes and seemed to laugh at the fact that Backes‘ brain was smashed so hard into his skull from an illegal hit that he could not stand on his own two feet.

And this isn’t just the my perspective of the hit, this was reported yesterday by one of the best hockey writers out there, Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski. Read his disturbing claims here and watch the video for yourself.

The NHL has yet to make any statement on the Keith and Toews trash talk, but did decide to once again show their lack of concern over brain injuries, handing out a minimal 3-game suspension to Seabrook for the blatant head shot. The NHL missed the boat, again, on this and when the lawsuits continue to roll into the league from former players still dealing with the long-lasting effects of brain injuries, this will be another instance for attorneys to look back at to prove in a court of law how lackadaisical and irresponsible Gary Bettman and his staff handle discipline in regards to brain damage and concussions.

And it’s not just hockey writers and Blues fans who noticed the immaturity and inexcusable behavior of the Hawks’ captains, as St. Louis Blues enforcer, Ryan Reaves, spoke about it in a story published by the Chicago Tribune:

I saw them talking to him. It makes it a little more gutless. I don’t think there’s any need for that when a hit like that happens. You don’t need to be going after him when he doesn’t even know where he really is.

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.”

So no doubt the bad blood and tension between this historic rivalry has grown ten-fold since the chirp heard round the world on Saturday, but I just feel embarrassed, not only as a hockey fan, but as a human being, for the disgraceful, child-like behavior displayed by Seabrook, Keith and Toews. There is no justifying those acts that unfortunately tarnish the reputation of a historic original six franchise and the shield of the NHL.

Like all Blues fans, I am hoping that Backes will take the proper rest and time off needed to get his strength and focus back before rejoining the team. And of course the loss of the team captain and the number one centerman will have a lasting impact on the Blues’ Cup chances, but these types of situations allow you to realize that there is more to life than hockey, and that the health of your brain and body comes first.

It’s just sad to know that a team with superstars who behave with such despicable class like we saw on Saturday, or a guy like Patrick Kane who punches defenseless cab drivers over a tip, and a coach who can’t stop touching himself, get so much praise and recognition in hockey circles.

But hey, leave it to guys with character like this to choke in the final minute of the first two playoff games and lose in overtime.

I say this, in all seriousness, to the Blackhawks’ leaders and fans, just like how your mother used to feel, we’re not mad at you, we’re just really disappointed.

And remember boys, Karma is a bitch.

Tags: David Backes NHL Playoffs St. Louis Blues

  • Dashley R

    When I was playing ball hockey with my friends, I wanted to win like nobodies business, maybe I was a little too competitive, but I never went out of my way to hit somebody just so I could laugh at them snoring on the ground.
    There was one time where I was playing after school hockey(ball hockey inside a gymnasium) and one of the older players who had already graduated brought his older brother who was apparently a police officer. You could see the testosterone dripping from the guys forehead. Guess what kind of hair dew he was sporting, if you guessed a shaved dome then you would be correct.
    Usually I played goalie with my random brand pieces of street hockey goalie gear, but they started using a heavy roller puck and I just didn’t have the equipment to keep from getting stung every other shot so for this particular day I was out of goal.
    I could see from the get go that this adult was going to be a problem as he was already hitting too hard and getting way too aggressive with high school teenagers just trying to have some fun. I started waiting for my chance to handle the puck to see how he would handle one of the bigger guys in the room(myself). To this day I still think about that moment and how glorious it felt as well as how bad I felt afterwards.
    The puck went towards the wall off of a deflected pass and I went after it(facing the wall) to handle the puck. As I took off jogging after it I saw him in the corner of my eye dashing towards me and lost track of him. I turned around just in time to see him only paces away and my only instinct was to forget about the puck and duck.
    A grown man flipped over my hip as if he was a gymnast going for gold and hit his head on the concrete wall followed by the rest of him falling to the floor. That thudding sound isn’t something you forget. The game was over for the day. He had to be helped out of the gym and to my memory given a ride to the hospital. Nobody got mad at me for what happened except for his brother.
    When I think back about it, if he hadn’t been charging in looking to lay me out he would have just went around me, taken the puck and made me look funny for ducking over.
    I say it was glorious because it felt at the time like justice was served and the guy practically tossed himself, but there is nothing glorious about somebody getting hurt like that and I still couldn’t help but feel bad for what happened. There is no glory in injuring someone or winning because of injuries.
    Hurting somebody like this, taunting them and laughing in their face afterwards is detestable and very disappointing.