Keith doesn’t remember saying ‘wakey, wakey’ to Backes
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and St. Louis Blues center Maxim Lapierre (40) battle for the puck in game one during the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on Apr 17, 2014 in St. Louis, MO, USA. (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO – Duncan Keith won't deny saying “wakey, wakey” to David Backes when the St. Louis Blues captain was trying to regain his faculties after being hit in the head by Brent Seabrook.
Keith wouldn't admit it either, but his non-denial spoke volumes.
“There's lots of things that get said out on the ice in the course of a hockey game, especially in playoffs,” said Keith, the Blackhawks defenceman, after the morning skate in anticipation of Monday's clash. “I'm an emotional guy. 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'm playing the puck and I shot the puck around, and the next thing I know, I see Seebs getting in a fracas so I jump in there. I don't know what was going on.”
And he was asked again directly whether he said it.
“I don't know how many times you want me to say the same thing. Skating around, didn't see the play, come in there to help support Seebs. Like I said, there's lots of things that get said over the course of a hockey game. I don't remember everything that gets said.”
Seabrook was given a three-game suspension.
What remains to be seen is whether the bad blood will continue to flow if things tone down.
The Blackhawks play host to a Blues team that's holding a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round playoff series.
But the Blues weren't happy their captain, who is not likely to play tonight and was obviously injured on the hit, was taunted in such a manner.
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The Blackhawks have to circle the wagons somewhat over the incident.
“Some things were said in the heat of the moment,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “Most of that stuff goes unheard on the part of the fans and media. It’s not easy to not regret some of the things that might have been said, whether it’s on that play or any other play. Sometimes that happens.”
Toews was also talking to Backes when the Blues centre was on his feet, but said he never made any comments until after Backes spoke to him.
“I think he was pretty fired up. He asked me to fight. That’s the only reason I started talking to him,” Toews said. “I don’t remember what my words were. I think maybe some of their players thought we were trash talking them after the big hit, but I think we were just trying to clear everything and make sure we could move on from that play.”
Either way, expect a few changes.
The Blackhawks will have Sheldon Brookbank in the lineup to replace Seabrook.
The Blues do receive a boost with centre Patrik Berglund returning after missing the first two games of the series. Derek Roy appears to be coming out of the lineup in favour of Brenden Morrow, who didn't play Game 2.
Here are lines based on the morning skate at the United Center, or in the case of the Blackhawks defence pairings, a best guess.
Steve Ott-Alex Steen-TJ Oshie
Jaden Schwartz-Vladimir Sobotka-Vladimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow-Patrik Berglund-Ryan Reaves
Chris Porter-Maxim Lapierre-Adam Cracknell
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Jordan Leopold-Roman Polak
Bryan Bickell-Jonathan Toews-Brandon Saad
Patrick Shark-Michal Handzus-Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg-Andrew Shaw-Parick Kane
Brandon Bollig-Marcus Kruger-Ben Smith
Duncan Keith-Sheldon Brookbank
Johnny Oduya-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy-Michal Rozsival
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak
Do you think Keith said 'wakey, wakey' to Backes?
Yes, no question
No, it was another player