David Backes has officially been ruled out for the St. Louis Blues tonight in their Game 3 battle against the Chicago Blackhawks after taking this brutal hit from Brent Seabrook that resulted in the Blackhawks second-best defensemen being given a three-game suspension.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock did not elaborate on his condition but Backes did travel with the team so there is at least an outside shot he could be available for Game 4.
Patrik Berglund will take his place in the lineup, but he will have a difficult time replicating all that Backes does for St. Louis. Hitchcock did elaborate on what his absence means for the club tonight in comments made prior to tonight’s game with the Blues looking to take a 3-0 series lead.
“Look, he’s our No. 1 center, he plays the most minutes on the hockey club. He plays in every situation. It has to be shared,” Hitchock said. “Not one person is going to be able to take this slot. We don’t have that. We don’t have somebody that can come in and say, ‘OK, you have to take his minutes.’ ”
“Somebody is going to have to do extra work killing penalties,” Hitchcock said. “Other people have to be added. We’re going to have to do a big job on faceoffs. Other people are going to have to step up and take faceoffs. … It’s a big hole, but we’re more equipped with Berglund in our lineup than we wouldn’t be without Berglund here.”
In other words, it will be a challenge to replace the team’s most complete player, but Berglund will be counted on logging some heavy minutes as he makes his return to the lineup.
[Quotes from Chris Hine of The Chicago Tribune]