Ducks 4, Blackhawks 2

A traditional recap this will not be.

There’s only one point of discussion from this game and it came two minutes into the second period.  When Brent Seabrook checked Corey Perry behind the net with a big hit, little did we all know we were about to bear witness to one of the cheapest, filthiest, dirtiest hits we’d ever witness.

When the puck came back around to Seabrook, he shoveled it along the boards and what happened next will not soon be forgotten in these parts. 

James Wisniewski took a full run from the blue line, led with his elbows up high, and for good measure, left his feet with a bullseye on Seabrook’s cranium.  Seabrook crumpled to the ground as though he just been chopped down by enemy machine gun fire.  Duncan Keith looked at his dead partner laying on the ice and skated towards Wisniewski.  Refusing to even answer questions, Wisniewski dropped his stick and gloves even though Keith still had both hands on his stick.

The real kicker came when the referees only gave Wisniewski two minutes for charging and a five minute major for fighting.  Duncan Keith got two minutes for somehow being an instigator and also five minutes.

It was at this exact moment that the game could’ve gone one of two ways.  With blood in the water and the referees clearly allowing the chippy play, the Hawks could’ve easily have started to take liberties with the Ducks and targeted some of their players.  Much like the St. Louis Blues did to the Hawks back in January.  

Or the Hawks could have largely ignored the humongous slight by the officials and tried to focus on winning what was a meaningless regular season game.  

They chose….poorly.  

It seemed after Wisniewski came out of the box, the Ducks kept waiting for a response from the Hawks.  And they waited and waited and waited.  You would have to think (and I desperately hope this is the case) the order to not retaliate came from above, meaning Joel Quenneville.  That’s the only way I’ll find any solace in what was a very disheartening response from the Hawks. 

And if that’s the case, then the age-old enforcer argument gets thrown right out the window.  What good would a Derek Boogaard do if his coach doesn’t want him to retaliate in any way, shape, or form? 

While I’m sure a couple people here will still try and bring up the same arguments about the enforcer, I’m going to ponder this question: With the Hawks not responding to the no-call on Wisniewski, they bottled up their frustration from the refs, the opposition, and their situation.  Then with less than six minutes to play in regulation, does Andrew Ladd still go ape-shit after Brent Sopel gets tatooed from behind by Bobby Ryan which, in turn, caused the subsequent fire-drill in front of the net and led to the game-winning goal?  

The Hawks let their annoyed feelings linger and instead of getting all the bad blood out in the second period, they let it drag on until it bit them in the ass at the most critical juncture.  By that time, it was already too late.

As for the NHL’s response to the hit, Bobby and I have a bet.  I’m saying the spineless league office will give Wisniewski less than five games and my partner says over it.  We shall see.

Since we’re on the topic of the most inept league office in all of sports, let’s dive right into the topic of the evening, headshots.  This has been all the rage for the past few months and why shouldn’t it be?  You have players losing years of their life at the expense of their fellow players.  Here’s what gets missed in this crazy debate.

Say the league office comes up with these great rules.  Any head shot is considered to be a 5 minute major for roughing, boarding, whatever and a game misconduct.  That’s great and all, but who’s exactly going to enforce said rules?  The same official who missed a blatant head shot six feet in front of him tonight?  The only way James Wisniewski could have made it more obvious that he was aiming for Seabrook’s head would’ve been if he took a baseball swing at his melon. 

It’s nice to think of all these fancy rules but if your officials are too inept or spineless to make the correct call on the ice, what difference does it all make in the end.  Big deal; Wisniewski gets suspended.  His actions went unaccounted for in the game that mattered and now the Hawks will be without their second best defenseman for an extended period because of it. 

Thanks a lot.

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44 Responses to Ducks 4, Blackhawks 2

  1. Muhr says:

    “Hawks will be without their second best defenseman for an extended period”

    What? did Buff get hurt?

    On a serious note, I doubt douchniski will get any time off, all he did was skate from the redline in take that shot at biscuit.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    If *you’re* outraged, imagine how the Hawks must have felt.

    With three d-men out, the Blackhawks couldn’t risk getting anyone else hurt.

    So perhaps this was one reason why retaliation wasn’t initiated.

    According to Troy Murray on the WGN radiocast, the NHL’s own off-ice official filed a complaint about the refereeing before the game was even finished.

    Now it remains to be seen if the reactions in the media and in the blogosphere, in addition to the protests lodged by the Blackhawks, change anything at all.

    Probably not.

    There is the possibility of Wisniewski getting supplementary discipline, for whatever that’s worth.

    The other side of the equation is that Crawford, Boynton, and Byfuglien all acquitted themselves relatively well in difficult and unfamiliar roles; and the team overall put up a gutsy battle missing three of their top defensemen against a team desperate for points.

    It isn’t going to get any easier from here on in.

  3. John says:

    Dave, interesting note about Troy Murray and the off-ice official.

    I get the d-men like Buff or Boynton not going after Wiz, but the only excuse Burish or Eager have is if Quenneville instructed them not to. Wiz, or any of the skilled Ducks really, needed their skull opened on that ice tonight and it didn’t happen.

  4. steven says:

    Despite Boytnon going after wiz at the end of the game im pissed. Eager and Burish had every chance, i dont care what Q said

  5. TimHawk1970 says:

    I am truly stunned by this game. Not generally a Hawk basher by any stretch, but…

    1. After several weeks of poor play, Seabrook finally gets off the schneid tonight, only to be leveled from the blind side away from the play. Wiz should get 10 games, but that is really a small matter going forward. Campbell gets the Russian shiv to the back Sunday, and no one responds. Seabrook goes down and the best we can do is a Keith pummeling and Boynton getting slapped around after the game is already lost? Maybe instead of the dad’s trip in 2010-2011, they can bring their sisters and wives—more opportunities to win some fights.

    2. Always great to see good old number 50 back in the lineup—as if things aren’t bleak enough, we get the unpleasant reminder from the conference finals of 2009. Two bad goals and back to Rockford you go, Corey. Ole!

    3. Sloppy line changes all night and poor matchups (admittedly a tough night for Q, and not all his fault). Q looked like he might need the paddles tonight.

    4. My living room sounded like the 300 section up in the high rows…”Sopel!” He is so bad it is like watching a wounded deer cross a highway in Northern Wisconsin, except no one ever does him the solid of running over him with their Buick. The Human Windmill.

    5. Broewer has some nice chances, but where is the grit? Must be in the same hole where Hossa’s guts are hiding. Did anyone see Hossa flinch and hop to the side at the far boards when he thought he was going to get checked tonight? He looked like a cartoon housewife who saw a mouse in her cupboard. Man up, for god’s sake.

    6. Versteeg should try that toe drag move a few more times. I don’t think anyone sees that coming, with the exception of anyone with the power of sight and short-term memory.

    I am sure I will feel better by the morning, but right now this stings…and just in time for playoff tix money to be due.

    Forgive my negativity…I promise to be more positive in future posts.

    P.S. Why don’t Foley and Edzo just tounge kiss and get it over with? There is more homo-erotic tension in that booth than a French Navy Submarine on Day Three. I pay $125 a month for cable; let’s hear more about Ed’s wife’s cookies, Pat.

  6. neo says:

    If you want to know why some people think hockey will never be anything more than the fourth or fifth most popular sport in this country try this:

    From the OC Register:

    “Wisniewski had two fights tonight,” Coach Randy Carlyle said. “He probably was the first star in our mind. This was probably his best game as a Duck.”

    And oh by the way, according to the Ducks, Seabs was the head hunter on Perry…

  7. Ban says:

    John, you will win that bet hands down.

    This was a terrible game, and not by the Hawks. The refs gave it to us hard and missed sooooo many obvious calls. How do these people have jobs?

  8. Nick says:

    God, I am so sick of players retaliating on clean hits. I get pissed when the Hawks do it, so you bet I don’t condone what Wiz did. Seabs finished his check like he is supposed to. Corey Perry knows the consequences when near the opposing net.

    Another game full of shitty calls against the Hawks, and this broken record is really getting old. Fortunately, these games really don’t matter, but I hate seeing the Hawks losing these games they should have had well in hand.

    The Sopel non call…. wow. Kinda reminds me of how the NHL wouldn’t suspend Cooke. Just too blatantly obvious not to call.

  9. Anna S. says:

    I got the impression from Q’s postgame interview (hoo boy, he was not happy) that the order not to retaliate came from him. One of the interviewers asked him about getting even on the ice as opposed to waiting for the league to play Justice Bingo, and he says something to the effect of “Getting even, you’re gonna be against it, you know. You’re short-handed, and you know, discipline’s part of it. That’s why these [league disciplinary] procedures are in place.” So I’m pretty sure the Hawks were under orders from on high not to forcibly separate Wiz’s head from his body.

  10. Lou says:

    John, maybe the pacifism is coming down from JWow. Any thoughts on that?

    Still trying to figure out wtf Crawford was trying to do on that second goal.

    On Seabs, we have to wait and see but he may not be concussed. As I said last night you can take a shot to the jaw and go out and not necessarily be concussed. We will say. I don’t see him playing tonight.

    Regardless, everyone on this team including the Euro’s and Kane need to flat out step up their physicality even if it puts us short and multiple men down. Our team manhood is being challenged. Lee, we need ourselves an old fashioned donnybrook.

    As for the reffing, the let Van Hellemond, Fraser and Schick ref for a long time…. Nice to hear a complaint was lodged but it won’t mean shit.

    I do think Wiz is going to be the poster child for the new proposed head shot rules…

  11. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, Randy Carlyle’s comment is very important.

    James Wisniewski was doing what he gets paid to do.

    Thuggery is part of hockey, whether we like or not.

    Whether the thug is Alexander Ovechkin or James Wisniewski or Nik Kronwall, the teams that can count on a thug–especially a highly skilled thug–to knock out opposing players have a decided advantage.

    While the Blackhawks have some players with physical presence, they don’t have one who intimidates the opposition.

    Wanting Buf, Brouwer, Ladd to suddenly become ‘enforcers’ won’t make it happen. Ben Eager, as we have seen, is a shadow of the player he might have been. Adam Burish is, and will be, trying to get back to his pre-injury level.

    Nick Boynton is tough, and he earned his stripes last night, but he is not Bob Probert or Reggie Fleming.

    This does not bode well.

    Conn Smythe once said, “If you can’t beat ’em in the alley, you can’t beat ’em on the ice.”

    The maxim holds true, and always will.

    The Ducks are a nasty team, and they served up a vicious plate of nasty last night.

    First Campbell, then Seabrook. Who’s next on the menu?

  12. Lee says:

    Before I went to bed last night after the game, I was going to say that this team is put together the way Scotty Bowman put his Wings togther because I remember the last five year they had no enforcers per se. but then i remember he was the coach when they had Probert and Kocur so now I just dont freaking understand this no retailiation by Chicago. I am thinking it’s got to be Q who I thought was doing great but now I think he is weak. As I asked last night even the Ducks annoucers, I am in Florida and watched the game on the package and it was the NHL network with the Ducks feed, could not understand why he did not pull Crawford with 90 seconds left when the Hawks had the puck and when he pulled him the Ducks were in clear control of the puck

  13. Lee says:

    John, sorry about the double but again I totally agree with you words

  14. Dave Morris says:

    “I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.”
    –Jack Tatum

    Seabrook got Tatum’d.

  15. Lou says:

    @Dave, unfortunately it takes more than one guy to be tough. And our tougher guys ain’t doing squat. My gut tells me this is JWow and Q.

    And I don’t think George Parros played last night so we have to ask ourselves who is going to step up. I among many have been calling for team toughness over an enforcer for months. I am going to stay the course.

    But I also think we have to stop looking for calls, start hitting, and stop the fancy play (that ain’t working).

  16. Lee says:

    I know I keep repeating my self but if we continue to play soft we are out of the playoffs first round

  17. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou>hockey is a game of intimidation, like it or not.

    Always has been, always will be.

    The Blackhawks don’t have a player who physically intimidates the opposition. They have some players who can play a tough, physical game.

    Not the same thing.

    The debate can rage on about ‘enforcers’, and no doubt it will.

    The debate, however, won’t bring back Brian Campbell and Brent Seabrook.

  18. Lee says:

    Anyone who who reads jaeckal on Hockey Buzz or knows him should either stop reading him or punch him our for even halfway agreeing with the Ducks announcers that Seabrook was faking. I guess he also faked being out of the rest of the game. i would love to see a comment here from jaeckal explaining his dumb ass comment. I am done reading him which I am sure he could not give one shit about losing me

  19. Lou says:

    Lee – I think it is more than just playing soft. We need to play two way hockey, stop stickhandling, check some one, improve the power play, stop trying to score from the blueline etc.

    just a thought, as a popular team again, do we have a restrictor plate on because of marketing geniuses?????

  20. Lee says:

    No I think it’s more of that, i think we have to start taking runs at the top players on the other teams and also we need to start being the instigators even if it mean a one game suspension. We need to do what others are doing to us and that is taking it to the other team physically. Problem is who is going to do it?i

  21. blackhawkbob says:

    Dave:

    You’re right; the game is about intimidation.

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe the “enforcer” debate applies to last night’s proceedings. While Hawk fans know better than most that Wiz can handle himself, he’s no enforcer. Derek Boogaard would have looked all night unsuccessfully for a dance partner last night against a team without its enforcer.

  22. blackhawkbob says:

    Lee:

    I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but … I agree with you. Scott Neidermayer should have suffered the same fate Seabrook did last night. No questions asked.

  23. Lee says:

    Blackhawk Bob, I have been a fan and season ticket holder since the old Stadium and Pierre Pilote,Reggie Fleming amd Moose Vasko. I think more and more on this blog will start agreeing with me

  24. CT says:

    I don’t often agree with Lee either, but I do this time. Revenge on Wisniewski does the Hawks no good (hell, I like our chances better with Wiz on the ice than off it), but start banging Selanne, Koivu, Niedermeyer and the like, and you’re going to get some attention.

    One other thing, the 4th line has not been good. Granted, they were shuffled after Buff got moved back to the blue line, but at this point, I’d rather see Dowell and Bickell on the wings than Eager or Kopecky. And if Burish can’t win faceoffs, then Fraser needs to be the pivot there.

  25. Crowley says:

    I think the league needs to make reckless or dangerous plays illegal, regardless of intent to injure. The severity of the penalty or fine/suspension should be made on a case-by-case and should be determined based on a set of criteria including whether head contact was made, the victim’s vulnerabilty, whether the aggressor had a meaningful opportunity to protect the victim, whether the agressor took such an opportunity to protect the victim, the victim’s distance from the boards, the game situation in which the infraction occurred, etc. NHL players can easily recognize when an opponent is vulnerable. The league should announce that players are expected to protect one another and then hand out penalties and suspensions when players fail to do so. In soccer, penalties are given based on how dangerous a challenge is. Hockey should be the same. In lieu of this system, the instigator rule needs to be repealed and enforcers put back in the game, because right now, there is zero deterrent to reckless or dangerous plays that are not necessarily intentional.

  26. dominator says:

    “I didn’t do anything wrong” – James Wisniewski

  27. Otter says:

    Hawks win this game if the refs don’t totally, utterly stink last night and Crawford has a clue about how to be a NHL goaltender. I think that last shift, with the Ducks up 4-2 should have turned into “fight night”… but we got Kane instead. Couldn’t figure that one out.

    Intimidation would have done nothing last night or in general. Teams are taking runs at the Hawks because the Hawks are better. Winning the game is more important than “intimidation”. The NHL isn’t Slapshot, but Toronto needs to make sure it doesn’t turn into Slapshot.

  28. Bernardo Santarem says:

    I didn´t expect that one from Wiz. You can clearly see him coming from the blue line, skate right after Seabs with the intention on hiting him and he left his feet to take the head shot. A charging penalty is when you accidentally hit someone.

    Wiz drop his gloves first while Keith was still with both hands on the stick and that´s an instigator ???

    Wiz gets suspended. So what ? The Hawks won´t benefit from that at all since he played the entire game against us and Seabs gets injured. Very good NHL !!!

  29. Patrick says:

    I just watched the two hits – here are some thoughts:

    1. The Seabrook hit on Perry was legal – it was shoulder on shoulder and Perry got spun into the boards as a result – he was around the puck at the time and he had his head down – it was NOT a head shot
    2. The Wiz hit on Seabrook was not legal – he jumped, he lead with his elbows and stick into Biscuit’s chops, pushing his head into the glass (which, in all likelihood, it was good that it was there and not on open ice as it make have actually cushioned his blow, rather than falling all the way back to the ice)
    3. Biscuit looked like he was somewaht alert, but it was wise not to play him after that. Loved the end of the video too – looked like they were working on Frankenstein for a bit

    Other than the hit, the thing that made me sick was the Duck announcer’s reaction “Is Seabrook selling this?”. The dude was out cold on his feet after the hit and you can tell because he does nothing to cushion his blow when he falls.

    Amateur, and just sick…

  30. blackhawkbob says:

    Patrick:

    Don’t forget that Seabrook never had possession of the puck. That’s why Wiz’s excuse was, “I thought he had the puck.” If Seabrook had the puck, it’s a borderline hit; the fact that he didn’t makes it illegal. Everything you’ve listed makes it dirty.

    Illegal and dirty – in my world – means 10 games. Anything less is a miscarriage of justice.

    And, the hit on Perry was a clean one. No doubt about it.

  31. Lou says:

    @Dave – as you well know there is a very fine line between in intimdation and bullying. There also is a key components called respect and presence. Idiots like Wiz last night have no acknowledgement of any of that. Yes, it is a big phyiscial game but headhunting and leaving your feet is wrong. And as Dominator quotes, Wis thinks he didn’t do anything wrong. That goes back to the respect and intimidation coupled with him being a jackass. That is hard to deter and dangerous for everyone involved.

    Having said all of this, we do lack the “presence” and the whole situation is determined by the response. Last night’s was pretty weak and it shows we may not understand what it means to be the hunted. I think presence can be individual and collective. Yes Keith jumped in but no one else did. And if the electric leash is on from Q, JWow, than shame on them. And if it’s not then shame on the players because it is more than scoring.

    @ Lee soft is a component lacking in the complete game. We have been in playoff mode for too long now. I don’t care if we lose 6 zip as long as we come out tonight and hit everything including a referee if they get in the way.

    It is critical gut check time now.

  32. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> you, and all our friends here, might find my article of interest.

    http://hockeyindependent.com/blog/david-morris/13025/

    Bullying is part of hockey. If you don’t know that, you’ve never played the game.

    It starts when kids get together on the outdoor rink.

    When they get paid six figures and up, the bullying gets more serious.

  33. Lee says:

    Dave, love your blog and totally agree with you. As you all know I have been screaming for an enforcer from the start as I could see what was going to happen and has. Guys like Fraser-Kopecky- and Eager are totally useless. It is time to bring up Bickell- Doell, and Beach when his playoffs are done. Q can scream all he wants about the hits but he obviously stops any answering to the hits from happening. I hate what’s going on and wonder who’s next to go down, Kane or Toews. John, I’ve got to believe you have to be leaning to my side a little now

  34. John says:

    Dave– I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but at the same time, if Quenneville told his players no retaliation, how can we condemn the Hawks lack of policeman?

    If Andrew Ladd got all hot and bothered because of Ryan Kesler calling him a name, I would think he’d be at least one guy who’d have no problems going after Wiz.

  35. Lee says:

    John and Dave

    Then why is it not happening?

  36. John says:

    Lee, every situation is different and in this case, I do agree with you. The outcome of the game was secondary for me last night. Someone on the Ducks had to be held accountable for Wisniewski’s actions. They weren’t and in my mind, that’s more on Quenneville than it is any player on the Hawks.

  37. Patrick says:

    John and All – I agree – seems like Q has lost his “master tactician” touch and hasn’t had it for about as long as Seabrook has been in the wilderness on the ice. Could that be the real problem here?

  38. Mark Giangreco Roman Wrestler says:

    In baseball, when a pitcher plunks one of your players, you don’t go back and bean the pitcher….you target the other team’s best players. It should be no different here. Once the other team, and more importantly the NHL, see’s their top stars getting muscled around, things like this will be prevented.

    Of course, the minute you start doing this, you put Toews-Kane-Hossa in harms way against a shitty non-playoff team like the Ducks and I’m not sure that’s what this team needs right now.

  39. Dave Morris says:

    John> Q’s directive not to retaliate should be looked at in the context of several factors:

    >one, with several of their best players out, the Hawks couldn’t risk having someone valuable, like an Andrew Ladd or Troy Brouwer, suffer an injury in a fight.
    >two, as Nick Boynton said, with the score being as close as it was, it wasn’t time for retaliation.
    >three, without a true ‘policeman’–or an intimidator of their own–the Hawks are vulnerable to *being* intimidated.

    With Campbell and Seabrook gone in successive games from successive illegal hits, I’m not sure how much more evidence you need.

  40. John says:

    It was a 1-1 game two minutes into the 2nd period. Plenty of time to take an extended run at Scott Niedermayer, Jonas Hiller, or Teemu Selanne.

    If Ladd and Brouwer are too valuable, then how about Burish or Eager? The Hawks have about six guys within their system that can do the same thing as them.

    We’re basically arguing about the same point; I just don’t see how having a policeman or intimidator was going to make a lick of difference after Wisniz’s damage had been done. The Hawks had plenty of time to respond and didn’t. That’s an indictment on Quenneville, not a lack of a roster spot.

  41. Dave Morris says:

    John>Eager’s clearly not up to the task after his concussion issues, and Burish, for all his bravado, isn’t back to his previous form.

    And the purpose of a ‘policeman’ (in the Reggie Fleming/John Ferguson/Dave Semenko sense of the word) isn’t to get revenge after the fact, it’s to prevent these types of incidents.

    The argument that the ‘game has changed’ doesn’t hold sway here, as the intimidation factor hasn’t changed.

    If teams know they can get away with targeting star players, they have, they do, and they will.

    BTW just out of curiosity, did you argue against having Bob Probert as a Blackhawk?

  42. Otter says:

    A few things here (@Dave mostly)…

    What good would having, say, Probert have been last night? Wiz would never in a million years drop the gloves with a Probert. He’d skate away and have someone else on the Ducks fight Probert. That’s the problem with enforcers or guys who “intimidate”… it takes two to tango and most guys won’t tango unless it’s their job.

    While I’m all for equal justice in baseball, it doesn’t work in hockey as someone pointed out because we don’t want anyone making a run at Kane or Towes or Keith.

    What I’m missing with the “WE NEED THE HANSON BROTHERS!” argument is that… well the Hawks are clearly a top three team in the NHL without the Hanson brothers. What good is one of them going to do? Jeff Hanson wouldn’t be able to stop Olvie or Wiz from those cheap shots… this is a NHL problem, something Toronto has to take care of. I don’t think it’s an coincidence that ever since the Cooke hit, there have now been a rash of cheap shots across ALL NHL games.

  43. John says:

    Too young to really have an opinion at that point. If the Hawks can find someone as talented as Probie was, then by all means, bring him aboard. I have no problem with someone who can score 10-20 goals and do what he did.

    When people (at least speaking for myself) say the game has changed, it’s not the actual game; it’s the front office game. The salary cap and the roster limit of only 23 players prevents teams from loading up on big bodied bruisers that teams in the 70’s, 80’s and even early 90’s loaded up on.

    As for preventing these incidents, to me it seems like a chicken vs. egg argument. I don’t think it would’ve mattered who the Hawks had on their roster last night, Wisniewski would’ve still done what he did.

    Look at last year, the Hawks had Matt Walker and Niklas Kronwall still had no problem sending Havlat back to the 18th century.

  44. Lou says:

    @ John. I couldn’t agree more with your last two reposnes. Also, Ladd and Brouwer should be in that mix as well and if one of them gets hurt in that situation we can all live with being a good teammate. Collective toughness will overcome individual intimiadators.

    @Dave, Intersting read on your blog.

    Bullying is part of more than just hockey and if you don’t know that you haven’t lived. But at the same point there are rules that define what you can and can’t do and those are called laws. Wiz flat out broke the law. You either have respect for the law or you don’t. Wiz didn’t. Thus, no intimidator is going to prevent that or what Kronwall does ever any way it can be rationalized. As our buddy Forest says, Stupid is as Stupid does. Wiz is stupid and justice needs to be swift. At least Wiz has the cojones to drop. Kronwall is a turtle.

    One thing I will disagree with you on is any insinuation that Kronwall and Wiz are in the league of the elite intimidators. Wiz and Kronwall are schoolyard bullies who break rules and then will cry when the get in the principal’s office and rat out everyone else. Stevens was the guy who scared the principal. I would take Stevens any day on any team ever. They don’t make too many like him anymore.

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