Backes slams Sundqvist for dirty hit, hints at revenge

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In case you missed it last night, late in the first period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, St. Louis Blues forward Oscar Sundqvist absolutely BURIED Boston Bruins forward Matt Grzelcyk from behind, running Grzelcyk's head directly into the end glass.

Here’s the hit in question:

It was an ugly hit that earned Sundqvist just a two minute minor for hitting from behind, but could end up costing him a lot more. NHL Player Safety has announced that Sundqvist will undergo a hearing to determine whether or not he’ll face supplemental discipline:

Grzelcyk left the game and did not return and following last night’s overtime loss, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that Grzelcyk had been taken to the hospital for testing. 

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You have to feel for Grzelcyk, he’s been such a good player for the Bruins down the stretch and into the playoffs. The 25 year old Charleston, MA native has seven points in 19 playoff games, but more than that he’s been logging big minutes on a regular basis. He’s strong defensively, can skate well and is a great defensive zone passer. If he’s out for any significant length of time, he’ll be sorely missed.
Grzelcyk’s teammate and former Blues captain David Backes was clearly NOT happy with the hit and let reporters know in his post game comments.

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“I don’t think that’s a hit we want in our game,” Backes said. “It was from behind, elevated into his head into the glass. If that’s a two minute penalty, there’s going to be a shortage of defenseman I think in this series by the end of it, but that’s in somebody’s else’s hands. That’s something I think if I’m making that hit, I’m probably watching from the bleachers for a few. But we’ll see what happens with their player.”

On the other side of the ledger, legendary CBC broadcaster and hockey analyst Don Cherry feels the blame for the hit lies entirely at Grzelcyk’s feet.

“You never, ever go in the corners like this,” Cherry said Wednesday during the ‘Coach’s Corner’ segment of Hockey Night in Canada. “He didn’t mean to hit him, he was just finishing his check.”

“Look how he goes in, head-first, he’s just asking for it,” Cherry said. “I don’t blame the guy — he’s just finishing his check, he didn’t mean to hit him in the head. You never go in the corner like that — you never, ever do it like that. You’re just asking for it.”

It’s true that Grzelcyk’s turns at the last possible moment as he takes a swipe at the puck, but will NHL Player Safety use this as part of their criteria for determining whether or not its a suspendible hit? 

One thing’s for sure, with two days off to rest before Saturday’s Game 3 from St. Louis, the Bruins could use all the down time they can get. They were reduced to four defensemen for a period of time last night and were clearly feeling the affects. A rest day today and tomorrow and a healthy Grzelcyk for Game 3 could make all the difference in the world.