BRIGHTON -- David Backes said he was thankfully okay after spending time in the quiet room at the end of last night’s 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, but not very happy there was no call on the play that put him there.
Backes was leveled by Anaheim forward Nick Ritchie in the waning minutes of the third period with a hit that came well after the puck had left his stick, and also arrived with a high finish after initial shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Backes clearly not seeing that it was coming. Backes was down on the ice and dazed before being brought back to the Bruins dressing room, and the rest of the Bruins were equally dazed when there was no penalty on the play.
It may or may not have been a check to the head based on the shoulder being the principle point of contract, but it was clearly way late with the entire play right in front of the attacking Ritchie. There was no interest or check to the head infraction as a result of the play, and no power play for the Bruins in a close game they were trailing late in the third period.
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Understandably, Backes was wondering a day later why there was no infraction on a play the NHL is clearly trying to get rid of given the insidious danger of head injuries.
“Obviously I have a biased lens I’m looking through, but at that time of the game [a power play] is critical when we’re down by two,” said Backes. “Who knows what would have happened? But to police the game and take those hits out of the game, those are the kinds of things you need to have repercussions for…or you’re encouraging them.
“If that’s a legal hit, if you wanted to you could probably pick off three or four guys a game doing that. With no repercussions then their bench is getting a little shorter and you’re getting a little more space out there. But I don’t think that’s the way the game is trending and I don’t think that’s what we want in the game. So that’s my piece, I guess.”
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With no injury to Backes and no announcement of any supplemental discipline from the Department of Player Safety, it certainly appears that Tuesday night’s Ritchie/Backes incident will go unpunished all around. Worse still, it was one of three or four times in the loss to the Ducks that the bigger, heavier Anaheim team took a run at the Bruins without much push-back until Zdeno Chara mixed it up with Ryan Getzlaf very late in the contest.
The good news, however, above the complaints is that Backes appears to have escaped the Ritchie hit unscathed and will be good to go against his former St. Louis Blues team on Thursday night at TD Garden.