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No suspension for Backes’ perfectly legal hit

Feb 2, 2013, 12:40 PM EDT

Fear not Blues fans, David Backes isn’t going to be suspended.

Backes’ hit on Red Wings defenseman Kent Huskins that saw him get rung up for a match penalty will not result in a suspension and his record will stay clean according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. John Shannon of Sportsnet also adds to it reporting the league has rescinded his game misconduct.

The penalty came in the third period of what was a 3-3 game at the time. On the major power play, Pavel Datsyuk would score the game-winning goal to put them up 4-3. Detroit went on to win 5-3.

As for Backes’ hit, the officials must have thought they saw him hit Huskins in the head with his crushing check. What really happened was more than apparent as Backes hit him square in the chest. The photographic evidence tells you all you really need to know.


  1. wills19 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Maybe the ref should be suspended

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      I agree. This is just one of the many unbelievably bad calls that has become an epidemic around the NHL this season.

      • eggserino - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        You mean like the Erskine non-call? Holy guacamole! What were the refs drinking last night?

  2. zwilhelm16 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    that call decided the outcome of the game. Ref should be the one to get suspended.

    • jeremyroenickdanceparty - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      oh please, there was 10 minutes left. if they can’t PK and come back from a one goal deficit in that amount of time its not the refs fault for the blown call.

      • hockeyissweet - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        dumbest comment ever. wouldn’t NEED to make a comeback if that 5-on -3 didnt happen. 1 goal would have put them back in the lead. idiotic comment.

      • hockeyissweet - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        *5 min pp

      • mickeyb21 - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        There was 10 minutes left when the major was called. Plenty of time for the game to go either way without the influence of the refs for the rest of the game. But with that call, the Blues only had 5 minutes to even tie up the game. Should have never come that that point in the game.

        Awful call that directly led to the Wings win.

      • jeremyroenickdanceparty - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        Detroit scored with about 8 minutes left. You blame the Blues not being able to tie it for 8 minutes on the ref?

      • icebox27 - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        jeremy you are an idiot. A major penalty doesn’t end when you score. It lasts five minutes regardless of how many goals you score.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      Your tears are delicious

      Remember when Yzerman roofed it on the Blues in OT?
      Or when the Blues hoisted the Cup……

      • dtownbeatdown - Feb 2, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        I like that!

    • dtownbeatdown - Feb 2, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      Did it cause the out come of the game… indeed it did. Yes it was a major, but the refs gave you a garbage penalty too on cleary with 2:30 left and you pulled your goalie. 6 on 4 and you couldn’t score. Instead zetterberg got the hat trick. Ref made a couple terrible calls, detroit took advantage of it. Don’t be so butt hurt about it, every team is going to get screwed over by a ref at some point this season. It’s your teams job to take advantage of those bad calls, did you expect the red wings to just hold the puck for 5 mins to be fair until the penalty was up?

      • eggserino - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        You speak much truth, but if the shoe were on the other foot you’d be whining like a little girl.

  3. nunan - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    And this is why refs are more lenient in the playoffs. Can’t have calls like this involved in do or die games. It’s a tough job as it is but when everyone is over-reacting to hits, calling them all ‘head-shots’ or ‘targeting the head’, that effects the ref’s decision-making. If anything, let the call go and then have the league make a decision after the game with the benefit of replay.

  4. schapley18 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Not sure if we should start suspending refs cuz at this rate of horrific calls we wouldn’t have any left at the end of February. However, these refs need to be punished somehow for the way these games have been officiated. A fine maybe? Maybe they are punished and us fans never find out…just a thought.

  5. icelovinbrotha215 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Yet another example of a referee making a call based on what he THINKS he saw. It happens way too often at every level of hockey. The Director of Officiating needs to address this promptly. A match penalty shouldn’t be assessed based on a whim.

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Really? He was directly behind Huskins and he saw Huskins’ head snap violently. Pretty sure he knows he saw that crazy head snapping action and called it based on that.

      • mickeyb21 - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        Yet the ref didn’t talk to ANY of the other officials on the ice. He was behind the play. There was a linesman looking at the hit from the front that should have seen it correctly. The fact that they didn’t even discuss the hit before giving the major needs to be reviewed. He didn’t even call it a match penalty until they saw that Huskins hunched over at the bench.

      • hockeydon10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 5:18 PM


        Refs are taught not to go back on a call. Doing so would encourage players to think they can get every call overturned.

      • mickeyb21 - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:10 PM


        Refs are also told to discuss goals and penalties when they are controversial. Just last week, the officials discuss waving off the Oilers goal against the Kings after previously deciding it was a goal. They need to discuss major penalties before they give them out, especially when the other guys on the ice have a better view. Talk to the other officials on the ice and then submit the penalty that is being called.

        I have seen games where they do not enforce the penalty called after talking to a ref with a better view. Most cases it is delay of game penalty, but there are other cases. They could have even gotten away with switching to a 2 minute interference penalty if they still wanted to call a penalty. (I don’t think it was interference, but it was a lot closer to that than a hit to the head) The refs would have then prevented the players from thinking they can influence the call and they wouldn’t have tossed a player from the game for no good reason and give a 5 min PP.

  6. dolanster - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Why not a video review for every major? They don’t happen often, and they can be game-deciding. This was easily seen as a clean hit on a slomo replay, but it looked bad at real speed because his head snapped back (making it look like the head was the point of contact). Easy to miss — but someone now owes the Blues a point or two. Too bad.

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      You might as well have said, “Why can’t we undermine the referees’ authority on the ice even more?” That’s what you’re asking for.

      Are the Blues overachieving so much that the loss of one player hurts them this badly? I know you guys are itching for your first Stanley Cup, but if losing Backes for half a period is that traumatic, that’s not good news for Cup aspirations this year.

      • dolanster - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        NFL reviews much more than the NHL and it doesn’t undermine their authority any. The officials there seem much more concerned about getting it right and conference much more often. Flags get picked up. They know if they blow it ESPN will be showing the replay 100 times and talking about their lame call. Video is a great tool. Use it. How many majors get called in the NHL? 1 every 5 games maybe? Video only makes sense.

      • stevedurbano - Feb 2, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        Uh, it’s more a matter of the 5 minute major than losing Backes. As for the ref’s authority they undermine it themselves with these kinds of ridiculous calls.

    • mickeyb21 - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      There are just a couple things that I would like video review for in the NHL: major penalties, delay of game penalties, and goalie interference penalities/no-goal calls. Would make the refs’ jobs easier and, I think, would lead to less controversial calls.

      • dolanster - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        The should review every major penalty (except fighting), and every goal where the call on either isn’t 110% obvious. If there’s ANY question about timing or what happened, they should look at it. Everyone else is — it’s ridiculous to decide games without looking at the slo mo.

  7. dumptrucked - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Give me a break with the ”ref this, ref that”. I bet you are the same guys who cry about not enough calls. Reffing is very difficult. I will say the ref shouldn’t have give with the game misconduct because his position obscured him from a clear view of the impact point but lets consider that this is the fastest game on earth, the recipients head snapped, and he was hurt… The ref errored on the safe side and made a call he thought was right because he thought player safety was comprised. The league has made it a point to emphasize safety and head contact infractions so at the end of the day I side with the ref. Until any of you have reffed hockey (which I do), you can’t possibly understand how fast the game is and how heavy a weight player safety is.

    • schapley18 - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Hmmmmm player safety….how bout that blatant flying elbow to Wayne Simmonds last night that went uncalled on the ice?! Yea…..player safety. The refs have been good the last few years, but so far this season has been nothing short of a joke.

      • dumptrucked - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        You are missing the point. First of all, the Simmonds hit wasn’t see by the ref. The back side ref followed the play which he should have and the front side ref didn’t see the elbow because Simmonds body position itself blocked his view. The ref can’t call what he doesn’t see.

        In the Backes case, the ref believed he saw a hit to the head and the evidence supported his belief. In that case, he had to punish to the fullest extent.

        Any ref will tell you that they screw up every game, they know it. There are 12 skaters, constantly moving and two refs, one of which always is always watching the direct puck play. I would love if all four officials could be refs and call penalties but then you all will complain that the games are being called too tight since not as much will be missed.

        The point is that you call what you believe you see, and you can’t what you don’t see.

      • schapley18 - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        Last time I checked all four officials CAN call penalties. It’s a fact that a linesman can call penalties. And the fact that NONE of them saw it is ludacris. The replays I saw show one ref right there in plain view.

      • dumptrucked - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        All four cannot. Linesman can stop play and alert a ref of what they saw but the ref has final call. There is a reason two wear stripes and two don’t. Most linesman penalty calls are procedural issues such as too many men.

        Additionally, on NHL network they said the officials did convene prior to making the ejection and this was the result

      • dumptrucked - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        i meant all four cannot ‘all the time’ hence the rest of my comment.

      • schapley18 - Feb 2, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        So they can’t immediately call a penalty but they can blow their whistle and then tell “stripes” what they saw so they can call a penalty? What’s the difference?! In the end a penalty still CAN be called n

    • stevedurbano - Feb 2, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Your opinion means no more than anyone else here just because you ref. I understand the “Solidarity, Brothers!!” stuff and all that, but the point is not that the incorrect call was made by one official, but that the full group of officials couldn’t get it right. And if they are going to call majors based on the way they guy looks after he’s hit then look for a lot more flopping.

  8. hockeydon10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Everyone needs to calm down with all the talk about “suspending the ref”. Referees do get reviewed by the league. If they’re not doing good enough, they’ll either receive supplemental training, or they’ll be weeded out. It doesn’t happen immediately, so I can see why everyone in our short-attention-span and immediate-gratification society is up in arms.

    The ref that called the penalty was directly behind Huskins. Ref didn’t see the point of contact directly, only from behind. Huskins’ head snapped violently. Ref made a terrible mistake. It happens all the time. Even Hitch knows that a call going bad against the Blues one game might be totally reversed in a future game.

    In short, bad call on the ice, good call by Shanahan.

    And if the Blues were really the world beaters their most vocal fans would have us believe, why were the Wings even in the game in the first place?

    • nunan - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Well said. There are two refs right? This is an idealistic view but seems to me, in a situation like this, the ref with the bad angle should be aware of his bad angle and maybe default to the ref who has the opposite vantage point and a better view. But, I’m sure they are trained to react immediately and his immediate reaction was this.

      • dumptrucked - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        The ref that you are speaking of that should have been defaulted to was well down the ice, on the opposite side watching the forward play as it progressed through the neutral zone. He can’t turn his attention to behind the play, that is the back refs responsibility. I state in a prior comment that I wish all four officials would just be made refs but then people will complain that the games are called too tightly because far more penalties will be called.

        Officials are in no win situations.

      • nunan - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        A while back, I remember seeing linemen make calls. It was really rare but if they felt it was necessary, they would blow the whistle. Maybe if a bad call is made, allow them to provide input and prevent a 2 min. PP? Play has already been stopped but at least a team can avoid unnecessarily killing a penalty. Wouldn’t happen that often so it’s not like a ton of calls would have to be reversed. They really are in a no-win.

  9. puckmepuckyou - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Why not review the play before any majors are handed out. As far as missed calls are concerned maybe player safety fines to the refs as well for hits to the head not called

  10. drez146 - Feb 2, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    About as many times as the Lions have won the Super Bowl……

  11. 3yardsandacloud - Feb 2, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Did anyone watch the hit live? Huskins head jerked back violently. The ref was standing behind Huskins, so all he saw was the head jerk.

    I agree it was a bad call, but from that Ref’s angle, it wasn’t a ridiculous mistake. Perhaps the linesmen should be able to chime in on Match penalties, like they can on high sticking. If nothing else, a different viewpoint would have exonerated Backes. Unfortunate result, but not an inexplicable mistake

    • paperlions - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:42 PM

      The problem with this perception is that heads do not jerk back when they are hit, they jerk back when the body is hit and the head is not, as the momentum of the head is what causes it to jerk violently. Watch any hit to the head and you will never see it jerk violently in the direction from which the hit came.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Feb 3, 2013 at 5:05 AM

      it was a ridiculous mistake to not talk to the other linesmen who could actually see what really happened.

  12. hockeydon10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    The linesmen are busy covering their responsibilities. They may see stuff from time to time, but some posters here are assuming a linesman was even watching that hit in the first place, or would usually be watching two players coming together behind the play. Looking for that stuff is secondary to linesmen.

  13. thehighcountrybear - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Some Blues fans are starting to sound like their Canucks brethren…? Go through any game and you can tally any number of missed or blown calls going both ways. It’s hockey, these things happen in fractions of a second while 14 bodies freewheel in conflicting directions, then the incident is reviewed in super slow motion. The change in visual context itself limits rulings to yes or no decisions. Subject the game to continual in-review and it would slow to crawl in TV markets demanding speed and expediency in broadcasts…and an important component of the game’s human element would be gone [ cricket anyone ]?

    • paperlions - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      If you didn’t watch this horribly officiated game, you should probably just remain quiet. It wasn’t a couple of blown calls, the majority of the penalties called in the game were bad calls.

      • shoobiedoobin - Feb 5, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Detroit gets routinely called for ticky tack phantom calls every year, and STL is the flavor of the month who gets away with murder. Stop crying about one game. Try playing such a tight puck possession skilled based game that officials have to call phantom BS because you barely commit legit infractions and then we’ll talk.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Feb 3, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      have you ever been to a hockey game? you do realise that after whistles what you dont see on tv is at least 4-5 minutes of the ice crew shoveling snow off the ice. what you see on tv has all that edited out for commercial breaks and to help reduce run time on air to help prevent a game from running into the next program.

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