Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended three games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Sunday for his hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Backes during Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series.
Seabrook's right elbow and shoulder connected with Backes' head as Seabrook checked him in the left corner behind the Blackhawks' net with 4:55 remaining in the third period on Saturday. Backes was thrown into the boards and fell to the ground. He remained on the ice for a short while and then had trouble standing once he got to his feet. He went to the dressing room and did not return.
Seabrook received a five-minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct at 15:09 of the third period. He had a phone hearing with the league Sunday morning.
Seabrook apologized for the hit and expressed concern for Backes after the game.
"I was just trying to make a play on Backes," Seabrook said. "I thought the puck was there. I was on [Alexander] Steen. I was just coming down the wall and I just tried to finish my hit.
"I feel bad seeing a guy like that on the ice. I've been there myself, and I'm not trying to target his head. I'm not trying to do anything like that. It doesn't feel good to see a player like that lying there like that, and knowing that I hit him. It wasn't my intent. I thought it was a hit. It's a physical series, hits have been laid like that from both sides the whole series, so we'll see what happens."
Seabrook had not been fined or suspended previously in his career.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock provided an update on Backes on Sunday.
"All I know is he's upright," Hitchcock said. "That's about it right now. We don't have any further information and probably won't until late [Monday.]"
Seabrook leads the Blackhawks with four points in the playoffs. He has two goals, two assists and a plus-1 rating in two games against the Blues. He had seven goals, 34 assists, a plus-23 rating and averaged 22:16 of ice time in 82 regular-season games this season.
The 33-year-old had two goals and five assists in 48 games this season. He hasn't played since Chicago's 7-5 loss at Nashville in the season finale April 12.
The Blues lead the series 2-0 after winning their second consecutive overtime game on Saturday. Game 3 will be in Chicago on Monday.