Ben Smith, Viktor Stalberg injured

Updated: September 29, 2011, 12:19 AM ET
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forwards Ben Smith and Viktor Stalberg left Wednesday's 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings early with injuries.

Smith was hit in the head in the open ice by the Wings' Brendan Smith, who received a match penalty.

"Both referees said it's a classic example of what we're talking about, that's the illegal hit," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was pretty black and white. I'm not happy about it."

Ben Smith was entering the offensive zone on a mini-break when Brendan Smith came from right to left, hitting the Blackhawk in the head with his shoulder.

"I think the ones you get hit straight on are better for you," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "I think his was a whiplash. That's worse."

The league has been trying to rid the game of head hits, doling out lengthy penalties this preseason. Brendan Smith will likely be further punished for the infraction.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock tried to defend his player.

"He knows it's against the rules to hit the guy in the head, but he wasn't trying to hit the guy in the head. He was trying to make a body contact, and he would have made body contact but the guy did this [deked], and left his head there," Babcock said. "I watched [the replay] many times. What's the onus on the player with the puck?"

Ben Smith lay motionless on the ice for several seconds until the training staff could attend to him. He was helped off by teammates while Brendan Smith was kicked out.

Stalberg left the game in the first period with a leg injury which Quenneville described as "probably not good either."

Both players will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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