Posted on April 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM
Monday, Apr 21 at 12:23 PM
(HockeyStL) -- Only a few players skated this morning for the Blues in the optional practice at the Mills. David Backes was not one of them. His availability for tomorrow night remains in question. Ken Hitchcock said he would not have been able to play if there was a game tonight.
"All I know is that he's upright right now," said Hitchcock. "We don't have any further information, and probably won't until tomorrow night."
Chicago's Brent Seabrook was suspended for 3 games for the hit on Backes late in the third period in Game 2. He might have received a longer suspension, but the league cited the fact that he has never before been suspended during his nine year NHL career. That doesn't change the fact the Blues have lost their captain and one of their best players.
"It was a gutless hit I think," said Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves. "It's a player targeting one of our best players and captain. To me it looked gutless from the replays I've seen."
"It makes it more gutless," said Reaves. "You don't need to be going after him when he doesn't even know where he is. But if they want to get into that battle we can play the same way.
"Whatever you have to do, you do, " said Hitchcock. "It's a nasty, physical, intense series. That's what playoff hockey is about."
Hitchcock said he was more upset about the hit on Vladimir Sobotka from Bryan Bickell, than the one on Backes.
Sobotka was hit on the knee near center ice by Bickell.
"When you're leg whipping people that's a career. That's career ending. That's an ACL, career ending. Something you don't want to see on either side."
Patrik Berglund, who was injured late in the regular season by a legal hit, skated on Sunday in practice. Berglund said his shoulder is feeling better, and he should be back in the line-up soon.
"You try to get back to normal as fast as you can," said Berglund. "I got to push it a little bit so I can get out there and help the team."
If there's a silver lining to be found with the Blues injuries it's that players like Chris Porter and Adam Cracknell have stepped up and produced. Both guys have scored in the series, and provided the kind of quality depth that any team needs to make a long run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.