One cheap shot that particularly irked me was David Backes’ hit to Henrik Sedin’s head. I know this is playoff hockey and Sedin looked fine after the hit, but isn’t this the sort of hit the NHL should be trying to eliminate?
To say that the league has been inconsistent in handling head shots is an understatement. Even league disciplinarian Colin Campbell admitted as much on Hockey Night in Canada . (The interview is a telling look at how the league metes out its justice.)
Daniel Carcillo gets a one-game suspension for a shot to the head; Michael Cammalleri doesn’t get one for a similar shot because he’s “not a bully”. Milan Lucic gets a one-game suspension for a shot to the head similar to what Backes gave Henrik, but who knows if Backes will even hear from Colin Campbell. If Lucic got suspended, shouldn’t Backes be as well? (I should mention here that I’m not necessarily advocating for a Backes suspension, but rather some sort of consistency from the league office.)
For his efforts, Backes received a double-minor, and with 7 seconds left on the game clock and the play in the Canucks’ zone, he took away any remaining chance for a late Blues comeback. As a Canucks fan, it’s not a bad consolation prize. But as a fan of the game, I keep hoping the league would take these incidents more seriously.