Blackhawks Confidential

Hawks, Seabrook KO'd in Anaheim

Seabrook concussed.jpg

Even before the final horn it was another loss for the Chicago Blackhawks as defenseman Brent Seabrook left the game against the Anaheim Ducks after a vicious cheap shot from ex-Hawk James Wisniewski.  Adding insult to injury, the Ducks withstood two Blackhawks comebacks to gain an important 4-2 victory in their fight for the playoffs.  For Chicago, it was their third disappointing loss in a row.  However, unlike the last two giveaways, this one felt stolen.

Wisniewski's lucky the cops weren't called in the second period as he was guilty of assualt and battery when he rushed in from the blueline, lept in the air and forearm shivered Seabrook's head against the boards.  In an apparent retaliation for Seabrook's clean hit on the Ducks Corey Perry moments prior, Wisniewski's intention was evident in his first stride 25 feet from the Blackhawks defenseman.  Television replays appear to show Seabrook losing consciousness after the hit, if for only a moment.

It appeared to be a fairly major infraction from an Anaheim defenseman with a physical history.  Yet the referees saw the incident as minor and sent Wisniewski to the box with a two-minute charging infraction.  And people wonder why the NHL has trouble attracting and retaining a larger fan base?  When these ugly incidents go unpunished it can make fringe spectators perplexed as to whether they're watching the NHL or the WWF.

Outsiders can label my vision as an expected Chicago opinion after the Hawks have lost both Seabrook and Brian Campbell to unnecessary injuries the past two games.  But my anger is aimed squarely at Wisniewski and the referees.  I don't agree with Alex Ovechkin's actions from this past Sunday that resulted in a broken collarbone for Campbell, but the Capitals star had no intent to injure.  On the other hand, Wisniewski's clear intent was to cause bodily harm.  And he did so with a shot to the head.  For these reasons, I believe Wisniewski should be suspended for the rest of the season.

Too harsh you say?  Then wait until a player either dies or sustains injuries serious enough to affect the way he lives the rest of his life.  You think the NHL has an image problem now?  What happens then?

The only thing during Wednesday night's contest to upset me more was the Blackhawks lack of response to Wisniewski's cheap shot.  If the referees refuse to dole out the approriate punishment, the players have no other choice but to police themselves.  Unfortunately the long-awaited revenge was a valiant, but underwhelming effort from Nick Boynton with less than a minute to go in his first game as a Blackhawk.  Good for Boynton to earn some respect from his teammates, but Wisniewki needed to be dealt with much earlier and much more severly even if it cost the Blackhawks a chance to win a game they eventually lost anyway.

As Blackhawks fans know by now, concussions are no laughing matter.  While it didn't look too severe, it's too early to tell how much time Seabrook will be shelved.  In the meantime, the defensive core is weakening in strength in front of an already questionable goaltending situation. 

In a move that caught many off gaurd, Corey Crawford started in goal for the Blackhawks as Cristobal Huet was sidelined with the flu.  Making his eigth career NHL start Crawford was mostly solid in a 32 save performance.  However, he would like another crack at a one-handed clearing attempt well-out of his crease that wound-up in the back of his net.  Anaheim's Todd Marchant was the recipient of an easy shorthanded goal to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead in the second period after Crawford's blunder.

As good as Crawford played, let's limit the goalie debate to Huet and Antti Niemi.  It's difficult to sustain a valid argument for any player after one game.

Jonas Hiller was even better in goal for the Ducks notching 39 saves to earn the win.  The Anaheim goalie faced 16 shots in the bookend periods but only surrendered a first period slapshot goal to Seabrook and a final period deflection off the stick of Marian Hossa that held up after a booth review.  Hiller was tested often by a swarming Hawks offense that had multiple scoring chances.  It took a spectacular left pad save to deny a Troy Brouwer attempt from the crease after the winger was sprung free off a terrific pass from Patrick Kane in the third period.

As if the the Wisniewski-Seabrook incident didn't provide enough referee angst, the deciding goal was a wacky play that occurred after Anaheim's Perry shoved Brent Sopel in the back after the Blackhawks defenseman lept in the air to glove a falling puck.  While the Hawks attention went to Perry, Saku Koivu slapped home his 13th goal of the season to put the Ducks in front 3-2 at 14:24 of the third period.  Sopel certainly tried to sell Perry's shove, but one would think the Ducks player was guilty of interference with his actions.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville appeared as mistified at the non-calls as those of us viewing the game from home.  His moustache wasn't able to hide the "un-f***ing believable's" flowing from his lips after Koivu's goal broke the third period tie.  It's fair to say he wasn't the only person with a rooting interest in the Blackhawks dropping F-bombs during this game.

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20 Comments

cubby23(eric) said:

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Seabrook's hit was on Perry.

Mark Kiley said:

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Thanks for the correction.

borg said:

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I think even Kane was pissed. He delivered 3 fairly big body checks in the span of about a minute late in the 2nd. I wish he'd play with that kind of passion full time.

Mark Kiley said:

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It was more like Kane tried to deliver big body checks. He bounced right off a Ducks player in one attempt. It was amusing, but I can't argue with his effort.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Like water off a Duck's back.

ironwolf78 said:

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Kane does play with passion but him and these Hawks are focused on Hockey not manslaughter like some of these other players in the league are getting away with. I just wonder what game those officials were watching last night. It's not like the puck was somewhere else. It was right at Seabrook's feet. As Quenneville put it, unf***ingbelievable.

iplagitr said:

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Here's another reason why hockey doesn't attract a bigger fan base: idiot statements like these from Wiz and Carlyle. Why can't hockey players / coaches ever own up to any wrong doing? The league will never be able to cut the garbage out of the game when coaches are publicly praising the players for it. It's one thing to support your player / team, but another to glorify their questionable actions.

"Wisniewski had two fights tonight. He was probably the first star in our minds, as far as involvement in the game," coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was probably the best game he's played as a Duck.

Wisniewski said, "I didn't do anything wrong. The result of what happened isn't good, but there wasn't anything wrong that I did."

herbie said:

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Wizsky only intention was to hurt Seabrook.He skated infrom the center line with a direct line at Seabrook because of Seabrooks hit on Perry.One of the linesman should have cut him off way before he got there.If a suspension isn't forthcoming,hockey is full of shit about stopping head hits.This crap won't stop until 10 games suspensions are handed out for every hit above the shoulders.If the stripes miss it upon an injury,review the tape and penalize before play resumes.

Mark Kiley said:

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Wisniewski's comments are another reason for a season-long suspension. Unbelievable.

herbie said:

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"i didn't do anything wrong".Review this play and watch him ignore any play of the puck.
Sorry to say,but no one on the Hawks intimidates anybody in the league.There is no fear of getting ones face bloodied after taking out on of our guys.Hits have become highlight moments!
Get it right Bettman!!!!!!!!!!!

Jerry Kayne said:

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For the record it's Colin Campbell that reviews and hands out the discipline. And every questionable hit gets reviewed and has consequences if it violates the rules. If no rule applies, then no consequence. That's why they're making a new rule for head shots. But it's a process and has a slim chance of being put into the books this season. Maybe it will be in place for the for the playoffs.

You guys are all very knowledgeable and I respect every comment but I recommend you try to listen to the free podcasts from NHL.com. Including the one's addressing the GM meetings.

The Gary Bettman show is very enlightening about the real inner workings of the administration of the NHL. The commissioner's job takes way more criticism than he should. He doesn't make any rules or even enforce them. He oversees everything but there's many very qualified admins that make recommendations and decisions. Brendan Shanahan was recently hired in the hockey operations and was instrumental on the Competition Committee. The GMs recommended a new head shot rule that has to go to the Competition Committee, NHLPA, and then the final decision is made by the Board of Governors. Betmann makes no rules nor participates in the process. He's done a lot to grow the game and I'm a fan of his.

But he's an easy target and I know why everyone has an opinion about him. But, I'd like you to know what I know about the process and the Commish.

Mike Kiley said:

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Jerry, you diplomatic devil? Is that Campbell on the phone for you?

Jerry Kayne said:

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Someone has to have a cool head here! I accept on behalf of all the little people I checked on the way to the top.

If Colie was on the phone with me I'd ask him what he thinks about my suggestion to deter these types of hits. Suspend the offender until the injured player return's to the ice.

BTW, I hear they're trying to expedite the rule to be in place before the end of the season now.

blkhawk11 said:

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Right on with your comment, herbie...."10 game suspensions +++ and much heavier fines imposed may be one way of curbing this unnecessary nonsense and even equivalent suspension time given for the lengthy loss of players such in the case of Savard and Campbell would be even more appropriate!!!

puckbunny said:

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You're so right! That Nick Boynton is quite a guy for standing up to ex-Blackhawk James Wisniewski for his “assault on Seabrook”…and just think like 3 weeks ago Boynton was in a Duck uniform. So I guess what this author is driving at is, want some toughness on the Hawks, shop no further than the Anaheim Ducks! Hey and how do you know Wisniewski‘s intent was to injure, is it skating from center red or Seabrook seeing birdies? I say it’s the birdies. Ducks aren’t the Wild you know, they like to hit hard and generally won’t let their forwards get knocked around. Hmmm didn’t get that Western Conference memo either. Hits..dirty or not are part of hockey and we all know that hockey fans love them. It’s a contact sport; injuries will happen. Just ask soft noodle Eric Lindros who was knocked out about 5 times in his career. Wait, do you know who that is? How about brutal hits by Scott Stevens? These are guys wore helmets ya know. Keep it up people..With a little help from you, Bettman and Crosby will turn the best league in sports into a bunch of ice dancers and then you can all blog about what hockey used to be like. Pffft. But for real, get well Seabrook…we all want to see you lace em up.

HawksRule said:

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puckbunny - your cocky BS sounds an awful lot like OneTeam-11Cups. How sneaky.
Hard hits are not new to the NHL. Neither are susupensions. There is no historical glory or nostalgia associated with a dangerous, illegal play resulting in injury to a player. Any true fan of the game wouldn't argue that or make light of the situation.

Jerry Kayne said:

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puckbunny, respectfully, old time hockey is no longer welcome in this century for obvious reasons. You and caveman Milbury will have to get over it. "The sky is falling" isn't a thinking person's position to take. This great game has evolved and so must everyone else that loves it. I think it's a better game today for all the rule changes. The blows to the head rules will be defined so it can be called on the ice and discipline can be handed out. But more importantly those that play to injure will be culled like most of the staged fighting. Do you not agree that it's a better game today than 10 years ago?

There are approximately 40 hits on average per game across the league. No one wants to decrease that number. Only where on the body hits can take place. The league's stance is this ... keep the hitting as it is, with just 1 rule in place to avoid (multimillion dollar) injuries.

Flannman said:

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Hawks need Bob Probert again...come back from retirement!!! =D

Rugby327 said:

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As a Boston fan I don't think you're being biased. You were even honest with Sopel somewhat selling the push when going for the puck in mid air. "Wiz" should get a rest of season suspension. This guy did that to "friends" and former team mates? He must not have many friends if thats how he treats and is towards them. Those linesmen and refs should have their licenses removed. O'Halloran and St. Laurent have eerily, seemingly been dirty with your Hawks at least the 3 games I'VE seen. When I talk to family in Chicago (who are die hard/non fair weather fans-they MOVED out there FOR the Hawks), Wiz could've walked the streets and probably gotten some hand shakes, high 5's and 'we miss you bro's', but I think if he were ever to walk the streets of Chicago again after this-I don't care how big or who is entourage is-Chicago hockey fans'll probably wanna take him to an alley and actually do it. Some/most of you can be downright scary and psycho.

Rugby327 said:

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And I forgot to add a few more things with regard to dirty ass O'Halloran and St. F*** stick. The offsides calls, lack of a few clear and way to obvious slashes by the ducks. It just added and adds up to a point where you ask "who blew them before the game because they MUST swallow".

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