Only the loss of yet another defenseman to injury could overshadow the surprise start of Corey Crawford in goal Wednesday night against the Ducks.
The move didn’t pay off, and the Hawks lost the game, as well as defenseman Brent Seabrook to a head injury that had coach Joel Quenneville fuming mad after the game.
“You hit a guy without the puck, you could kill a guy,” Quenneville emphatically said. “It’s the most dangerous hit in the history of the game, alright.”
Seabrook was hit by former Hawk James Wisniewski early in the second period, moments after Seabrook had hit Duck forward Corey Perry. Wisniewski left his feet as he delivered the vicious blow and Seabrook’s head got plastered against the glass. It looked for a moment that Seabrook lost consciousness on his way down to the ice but was able to skate off to the dressing room. Wisniewski was given just a two minute charging penalty.
“And he tried to hurt him,” Quenneville continued. “If that’s not intent, that’s as bad a hit as you could ever have in the game.”
When asked what the explanation, by the referees was for only calling a minor penalty, Quenneville thought for a moment before saying, “I’m not getting into it.”
Quenneville said one could argue the Ovechkin hit, either way, but indicated this one was “a different category.”
For his part, Wisniewski said Seabrook was a close friend of his.
“You don’t like to see that," Wisniewski said of Seabrook. "I thought he had the puck so I finished my check. I was already down there, so I pinched in and that’s what happened.
“It probably will get looked at, but the result wasn’t because of a shot to the head. I’m 5-foot-11 and he’s 6-3. What happened was that my face hit his face. The visor came down and cut up my nose. I was shocked when I saw the result of it on the replay.”
Wisniewski added that he hoped he didn't receive a suspension for the hit.
“I didn’t do anything wrong," he said. "The result of what happened isn’t good, but there wasn’t anything wrong that I did.”
The Seabrook hit was only the first of two bad calls by the referees. Later, in the third period, with the game tied at two, Brent Sopel went up in the air to bat a puck that had been deflected, only to be visibly crosschecked in the back before it came down. No penalty was called and the Ducks scored seconds later.
“You could argue which one [bad call] was worse,” Quenneville simply stated.
It was the third straight game the Hawks lost a defenseman to injury mid-game. Kim Johnsson left the contest in Phildelphia, last Saturday, suffering an upper-body injury. He has yet to return to the lineup. On Sunday, Brian Campbell was knocked out for two months with a broken clavicle and broken ribs after being pushed into the boards by Alexander Ovechkin of the Capitals. And now comes Wisniewski’s hit on Seabrook.
Dustin Byfuglien took Seabrook’s place on defense having practiced with the blueliners over the last couple of days.
Quenneville didn’t reveal the extent of Seabrook’s injuries, so his status for Thursday’s game is unknown.