By Brian Hamilton
CHICAGO -- The devastating hit that knocked out St. Louis Blues captain David Backes out of Game 2 and earned Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook a three-game suspension has become secondary to what followed.
The YouTube video above, circulated on Sunday, seems to reveal a Blackhawk player taunting a clearly dazed Backes by saying "Wakey, wakey, Backey" which -- not shockingly -- elicited scorn from the Blues camp. One Hawk who was accused of being the perpetrator, defenseman Duncan Keith, didn't admit on Monday that he made the comments.
The former Norris Trophy winner also didn't exactly deny it, either.
"I mean, there's lots of things that get said out on the ice in the course of a hockey game," Keith said after Chicago's morning skate with the teams set to meet in Game 3 on Monday night at the United Center. "Especially in the playoffs. I'm an emotional guy and it's an emotional game. I don't remember everything that gets said out there. I didn't even see the hit, to be honest with you. I was playing the puck, and I shot the puck around, and next thing you know, I see (Seabrook) getting in a fracas. So I jump in there. I don't know what was going on."
Asked again if he made the comments, Keith again issued a non-denial denial.
"I don't know how many times you want me to say the same thing," he said. "Skating around, didn't see the play, come in there to help support (Seabrook). Like I said, there's lots of things that get said over the course of a game. I don't remember everything that gets said."
The hit in question occurred with the Blues trailing by one in the third period of what became a 4-3 overtime win. Backes attempted to play the puck behind Chicago's net and was cleared out by Keith.
Seabrook, meanwhile, charged in and drilled Backes with a shoulder/elbow to the head. He drew a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct, and the ensuing power play resulted in the game-tying score for St. Louis with 6.4 seconds left in regulation.
Game 2 recap | Box score | Takeaways
The alleged taunting occurred in the scrum that followed. St. Louis forward Ryan Reaves told reporters on Sunday that the Blackhawks' purported "wakey wakey" taunt made the entire sequence "a little more gutless." Backes could be seen eyeing Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and engaging in some back-and-forth before Toews skated away.
"I didn't say anything, really," Toews said. "I don't know what he was feeling or going through. I guess you can kind of imagine, seeing what he was like against the boards there. I think he was pretty fired up and he asked me to fight. That's the only reason I started talking to him there. I don't really remember what my words were. I think some of their players thought we were trash-talking him after a big hit, but I think we were just trying to clear everything and make sure we could move on from that play."
Given the deep dislike between these two division rivals, moving on may not be so simple in Game 3. Backes has been declared out for Game 3, so his absence and the taunt in question will surely throw some spice into an already heated rivalry.
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