Blues, Blackhawks discuss taunting

Updated: April 21, 2014, 4:18 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves called the Blackhawks "gutless" Monday if they taunted forward David Backes after he was injured on a hit by Brent Seabrook in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

A television microphone picked up audio of someone saying "Wakey, wakey, Backes," after Backes was dazed by Seabrook's hit on Saturday. Backes will miss Monday's Game 3 with an upper-body injury.

[+] EnlargeBlackhawks/Blues
AP Photo/Bill BoyceThe Blackhawks-Blues first-round playoff series has been a physical battle from the very start.

"I don't know who was saying anything," Reaves said Monday. "It doesn't matter who was saying it, whether they caught them on camera or not. If something was said, it's gutless. He has to live with it, not me."

Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith were both near Backes after the hit, and neither player knew what exactly was said.

"There's a lot of things that get said out on the ice in the course of a hockey game, especially in playoffs," Keith said. "I mean, I'm an emotional guy. It's an emotional game. I don't remember everything that gets said throughout there.

"I don't know how many times you want me to say the same thing. I'm skating around, didn't see the play, come in there to help support [Seabrook]. Like I said, there's lots of things that get said over a course of a game. You know I don't remember everything that gets said."

Toews said he began talking to Backes after Backes offered to fight him.

"I didn't say anything really until he actually ... I mean, I don't know what he was feeling or going through," Toews said. "I guess you can imagine what he was like against the boards there. I think he was pretty fired up. He asked me to fight. That's the only reason I started talking to him.

"I don't remember what my words were. I think maybe some of their players thought we were trash-talking them after the big hit, but I think we were just trying to clear everything and make sure we could move on from that play."

Toews was also asked specifically about what the microphones caught on the ice.

"I don't know," Toews said. "Some things were said in the heat of the moment. Most of that stuff goes unheard on the part of the fans and media. It's not easy to not regret some of the things that might have been said, whether it's on that play or any other play. Sometimes that happens."

Blues forward Brenden Morrow didn't care whether "Wakey, wakey, Backes" or anything else was said by the Blackhawks.

"David hasn't told us what was said, so I don't know what was said, what the cameras caught," Morrow said. "That doesn't matter. There's gamesmanship. I'm sure that wasn't the worst thing said. It just wasn't caught on camera. That's the way it goes, and we're not going to react to that."

Reaves didn't believe it was time for the Blues to seek physical revenge.

"I think right now, winning the playoff series is the best revenge we can get," Reaves said. "We can go send them packing, shining up the golf clubs a little bit. I think that would be the best revenge right now. We can get them next year or whenever it happens. Right now, taking care of this series is the best way to do it."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock also voiced his opinion Sunday about a couple of hits by Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell in Game 2. Bickell was called for kneeing in the third period when he collided with Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka.

"There was a similar hit on [Alex] Pietrangelo the first period that was really concerning by the same player," Hitchcock said on Sunday. "When you're leg-whipping people, it's a concern because it's career-ending. That's ACL, career-ending. That's a big concern for me, the safety of the players. That part bothers me more than the hit on David, a hit that went awry. The hit on Sobotka was a continuation of what happened to [Pietrangelo] in the first period."

Bickell didn't believe his hits were dirty.

"I don't know; I don't think so," Bickell said Monday. "I'm going to be finishing my check. I think [Sobotka] tried to avoid it and I tried to lean into it a little bit, and I got a piece of him. I think he was all right. I know he tried to get more out of it, but he didn't miss his shift, so I think he's fine. Things like that are going to happen. The game is so fast, and I'm going to be finishing my checks, and I just need to keep my head down and keep going."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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