Chicago Blackhawks: David Backes

Brent Seabrook grateful to play again

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
7:23
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks’ season could have ended while defenseman Brent Seabrook was serving a three-game suspension.

Seabrook needed the Blackhawks to win twice in three games against the St. Louis Blues to give him a chance to play again this season. The Blackhawks did better than that. They won three times.

[+] EnlargeBrent Seabrook
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Brent Seabrook needed Chicago to win twice in three games against the Blues to give him a chance to play again this season after his Game 2 suspension. They did him one better by winning three times.

Seabrook rejoined his teammates for Game 6 on Sunday and helped the Blackhawks finish off the Blues. Seabrook contributed two assists, had a plus-3 rating and helped kill off six penalties in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 series-clinching victory at the United Center.

“It was tough,” Seabrook said of serving his suspension. “I can’t watch hockey. I don’t know how you guys do it. It’s tough. You’re hanging on every shot, every save, every play. You want to be out there helping the guys.

“It was obviously tough to watch it, but they did a great job and I got to play again.”

Seabrook was suspended three games for a shoulder-to-head hit on Blues forward David Backes in Game 2. Backes missed two games due to an upper-body injury. Seabrook expressed concern for Backes and apologized for the hit after Game 2.

Seabrook spoke to the media for the first time since receiving the suspension after Game 6 on Sunday.

“I didn’t like it, obviously, but I respect their decision,” Seabrook said of the suspension. “They have a tough job. They’re not just worried about myself or just worried about Backes; they’re looking at the whole thing. Really, the only thing you can ask for is they are honest and respectful.

“[Brendan Shanahan] did a good job the last three, four, five years, however long he was [with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety]. [Stephane] Quintal has taken over and the couple of suspensions he’s handed out I think he’s been doing a good job. It’s a tough job for those guys to do that. You know one side is always going to be pissed off. I just have to take it and had to try and get ready.”

Seabrook and Backes faced each other in Sunday’s game, but Seabrook said they didn't discuss the hit. Seabrook said he hoped to talk to Backes in the next few days. The players shook hands after the game.

“We haven’t talked,” Seabrook said. “I can’t say for what he thinks about me, but I’m not a player like that. I’ve been here for nine years and you guys have seen the way I play. It was not my intention. It wasn’t deliberate.

“He’s one of their best players. You want to play him tough. You want to play him hard, but you don’t want to go out there and hurt anybody. Like I said after that game, it’s tough to see anybody laying there, whether it’s your worst enemy or your best friend it’s tough to see that.”

By the numbers: Hawks-Blues, Game 5

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
12:15
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- Here’s a look by of the number of the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their first-round series:

* Game 5 was the fourth game in the series to be decided in overtime. The NHL record for most overtime games in a series is five, which was set in 1951 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens and again in 2012 between the Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes.

* The Blues had a 50.5 Corsi close percentage (the Blues had 51 shots attempts to the Blackhawks’ 50 in 5-on-5 situations with the game tied or within a goal.) Corsi close is used to combat score effects. Despite the shot advantage, the Blackhawks scored three goals to the Blues’ one in those situations.

* Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa had a game-high seven shots on net. He leads the league with 28 shots on goal in the playoffs.

* Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked a game-high six shots. He leads the NHL with 24 blocked shots in the playoffs.

* Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka won 15-of-17 faceoffs. It was the best performance by a Blue in a playoff game since faceoffs began being tracked during the 2000-01 season.

(Read full post)

W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 5)

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
3:41
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Friday. The series is tied at 2-2. Here's what to watch for:

" Blues forward David Backes is unlikely to play again due to an upper-body injury. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t rule him out, but Backes didn’t participate in the morning skate again. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will be serving the final game of his three-game suspension for his hit on Backes.


" Game 5 has a good shot of going into overtime. Three of the first four games have gone past regulation and were decided by a 4-3 score.

" The Blues have defeated the Blackhawks in all four games at the Scottrade Center this season. The Blues won 4-3 in three overtimes in Game 1 and 4-3 in one overtime in Game 2 in St. Louis. Neither team has lost at home in the series.

" Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is coming off his best game of the series. He had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in the Blackhawks’ win in Game 4. He appears to have his timing back after missing the final 12 regular-season games due to a lower-body injury.

" Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko leads the NHL with four playoff goals. He had two of them in Game 4. He missed the final 15 games of the regular season.

" Both teams have been consistently effective on the penalty kill and ineffective on the power play. The Blackhawks are 2-for-16 on the power play, and the Blues are 2-for-21.

" Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa haven’t scored in the series. They combined for 64 goals in the regular season. They have had 39 shots on net in the series.

Blues' David Backes out for Game 4

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
8:22
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- St. Louis Blues forward David Backes will not play against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series on Wednesday due to an upper-body injury.

Backes was scratched for the second consecutive game due to the injury. He has been out since he took a hit to the head from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in the third period of Game 2. Seabrook was suspended three games for the hit.

Backes had 27 goals, 30 assists, a plus-14 rating and an average ice time of 19:33 in 74 regular-season games. He had one assist in the first two games of the series.

The Blues lead the series 2-1.

W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 4)

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
2:32
PM CT
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ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Wednesday. The Blues lead the series 2-1. Here's what to watch for:

• Blues forward David Backes is questionable for the game. After the morning skate, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn't reveal whether Backes will play. Backes was hurt by a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 2. Seabrook will be out Wednesday as he serves the second game of his three-game suspension.

• Hitchcock announced forward Brenden Morrow will miss the remainder of the series due to a lower-body injury. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith did not participate in the team's morning skate, but coach Joel Quenneville said he will be fine for the game.

• The Blues believe they played their best game of the series in Game 3 despite losing 2-0 at the United Center. The Blues had 70 total shot attempts to the Blackhawks' 49. Hitchcock said, "I thought we were 80 percent in, and if we're going to beat them [Wednesday,] we're going to have to have a stronger commitment in our game."

• A power-play goal could be the difference for either team. Both teams have struggled on the power play and excelled on the penalty kill. The Blues are 1-for-16 on the power play, and the Blackhawks are 1-for-14. The Blackhawks' power-play goal came on their first chance in the series. The Blues scored theirs to tie the game in the final seconds of the third period in Game 2. Both teams have obviously been pleased with their penalty kill units.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is coming off his best game of the series. After allowing four goals in each of the first two games, Crawford stopped all 34 shots he faced in Game 3. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller wasn't far behind Crawford in Game 3. Aside from allowing a soft goal to Jonathan Toews, Miller was solid as well.

• Quenneville reunited forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on a line in Game 3. Quenneville often prefers to keep them apart to create more balance in the lineup. Kane and Toews have two of the Blackhawks' three forward goals in the series. Hitchcock joked on Tuesday, "I don't think he's fighting very fair frankly. I don't like that. But we'll find a way to figure it out."

• Game 3 was tamer than the first two games. The Blackhawks and Blues combined for seven penalties, which was the lowest amount in the series. They combined for 10 in Game 1 and 17 in Game 2. Both teams are less likely to get involved in extracurriculars after the whistle as the series goes on.

W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 3)

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
4:28
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Monday. The Blues lead the series 2-0. Here's what to watch for:

• The Blues will be without David Backes, who suffered an upper-body injury due to a hit by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 2. Backes is the Blues' top-line center and plays in all situations. The Blues will return forward Patrik Berglund to the ice. He's missed the past three games due to an upper-body injury.

• Seabrook was suspended three games for his hit. His absence is also costly for the Blackhawks. He's second on the team in minutes and leads it with four points in the playoffs. Sheldon Brookbank will replace Seabrook in the lineup in Game 3.

• There is some bad blood boiling in this series, but both teams have said it's important to not act on it. Aside from the Seabrook hit, Hitchcock also accused Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell of some questionable hits in Game 2. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has kept most of his opinions to himself in the first two games.

• Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko has made an immediate impact in the series after missing the final 15 games of the regular season. He scored in each of the first two games.

• Games 1 and 2 had a number of similarities. The biggest ones were the Blues rallying from a 3-2 deficit to tie the game late in the third period and winning in overtime. The Blackhawks were less than two minutes away from being up 2-0 in the series.

• Special teams have pretty much cancelled each other out through the two games. The Blues are 1-for-13 on the power play, and the Blackhawks are 1-for-10.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford accepted blame for his team's Game 2 loss. He said he needed to play better. He's allowed four goals in each game and has a .904 save percentage for the series.

• Five of the six Blackhawks' goals have been scored by their defensemen. Patrick Kane's breakaway goal in Game 1 was the lone one scored by a forward.

Rapid Reaction: Blues 4, Hawks 3 (OT)

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
5:36
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- Here’s a quick look at the St. Louis Blues' 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Saturday.

How it happened: Barret Jackman scored 5:50 into overtime for the game-winner. Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko forced overtime by scoring a power-play goal from the top of the right circle with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period. St. Louis had pulled goaltender Ryan Miller off the ice and had a 6-on-4 advantage. The Blues were on the power play from 13:55 of the third period to when Tarasenko scored at 19:53. Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was called for kneeing at 13:55, and defenseman Brent Seabrook got five minutes for charging and received a game misconduct for a hit he put on David Backes at 15:09. Backes left the game and did not return.

The Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead when Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival's shot deflected off Backes and skidded past Miller at 6:38 of the third period. The Blues had built a 2-0 lead in the first period off goals by Chris Porter and Kevin Shattenkirk. But the Blackhawks started to rally in the second period. Defenseman Duncan Keith scored at 17:25 of the second for their first goal. Seabrook came through with the second goal as he scored from the right circle at 4:53 of the third period.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 27 saves on 31 shots. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 25-of-28 shots.

What it means: The Blues take a 2-0 series lead and hold onto home-ice advantage. Backes’ health has to be a concern for the Blues going forward. He looked out of sorts after the hit. Seabrook could be looking at a suspension. The Blues have rallied from 3-2 deficits in the third period and won in overtime in both games of the series. They scored with 1:46 remaining in the third period in Game 1 to force overtime and then won it in a third overtime Thursday.

The Blues have been giving the Blackhawks power-play chances, but the Blackhawks haven’t been able to capitalize. They are 1-for-10 on the power play in the series. The Blackhawks went 119:26 without scoring a goal from Patrick Kane's first-period goal in Game 1 to Keith’s second-period goal in Game 2.

Player of the game: Tarasenko provided the clutch goal in the win.

Stat of the game: The Blues had 17:48 of power-play time.

What’s next: The series travels to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will be at the United Center on Monday.

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