CHICAGO • Blues captain David Backes will not play in Game 3 tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Backes is still recovering after being knocked out late in Game 2 Saturday on a hit by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. Seabrook was suspended three games by the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Sunday.
Backes did make the road trip to Chicago, but he won't suit up for the first of two games against the Blackhawks. Game 4 is Wednesday.
"He's out, won't play today," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Blues were 4-4 without Backes in the lineup during the regular season, which includes three losses at the end of the year when the club was without several other starters.
"Our team is built on depth for when these things happen," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "You never can replace a guy like Dave off the ice or on the ice. But when you've got guys like (Vladimir Sobotka) and (Alexander Steen) and (Jaden Schwartz) and the list goes on and on ... guys that can step up and take the ice ... that's what makes this team special. That's what makes this a good team."
Hitchcock was asked for his reaction to Seabrook's three-game suspension.
"I'm not commenting on the suspension," Hitchcock said. "The league has already done that. You know my feelings on the hit, you know my feelings on (Chicago forward Bryan) Bickell. That's yesterday's news."
In addition to the fact Backes won't play tonight, today's news also includes the headline that Patrik Berglund will be in the Blues' lineup tonight.
"Berglund is playing," Hitchcock said. "He feels good, he's ready to go."
Berglund suffered a shoulder injury April 12 against Dallas. He missed the final game of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs.
How much can the Blues count on Berglund considering he's coming off a fairly serious injury and not entering a playoff series that has grown extremely physical?
"I think assuming that he hasn't had contact ... we've been beating him around the boards for a week now ... he's been running into every coach and every alumni we can find," Hitchcock said. "He hasn't participated maybe in full practices, but we've really only had maybe one that he wasn't around for. But he's been declared fit to play. I don't think there's going to be an issue there.
"It's a little bit like (T.J. Oshie's return from injury). You're walking into a hornets' nest and that's why we're starting him a little bit on the lower side of the roster, to see where he's at from being able to keep up mentally. I think the first game back for Osh was really rich, walking into something like that. We expect the same for Bergy, so if he can just get some shifts and get his feet wet ..."
With Berglund returning, Derek Roy will be a healthy scratch for the Blues. Brenden Morrow will take Backes' spot in the lineup.
BLUES' PROJECTED LINEUP
Steve Ott-Alexander Steen-T.J. Oshie
Jaden Schwartz-Vladimir Sobotka-Vladimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow-Patrik Berglund-Ryan Reaves
Chris Porter-Maxim Lapierre-Adam Cracknell
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Jordan Leopold-Roman Polak
BLUES DOWNPLAY "WAKEY, WAKEY"
My colleague Dan O'Neill was in the Chicago locker room this morning and gathered Blackhawks' reaction to Duncan Keith's "Wakey, wakey" comment directed at Blues captain David Backes as he was rising to his feet following the hit by Brent Seabrook. Click here to read that blog.
The Blues' Ryan Reaves was one of the few players available yesterday to talk about this incident and his comments were in yesterday's blog (click here). But today, several others were asked about it, including Alexander Steen, who was in the middle of scene.
Steen, predictably and perhaps understandably, did not take well to the question when someone asked what was said by the 'Hawks.
"Do you think I'm going to tell you?" Steen said. "I'm not talking about that stuff. I'm focused on Game 3."
Brenden Morrow also wanted to move on, but elaborated by saying: "David hasn’t told us what was said, so, I don’t know what was said, what the cameras caught."
When told what was said, Morrow replied: "There’s gamesmanship. I’m sure that wasn’t the worst thing said. It just wasn’t’ caught on camera. That’s the way it goes and we’re not going to react to that."
MORROW IS BACK
Morrow will be back in the lineup tonight after sitting out Game 2.
Hitchcock wouldn't say Sunday whether Morrow was a healthy scratch Saturday, simply sitting out due to the return of T.J. Oshie, or if his recent foot injury kept him out. But in listening to Morrow today, his foot is fine and not playing in Game 2 was a result of Oshie's return.
"It's kind of a number's game right now," Morrow said. "We've got a lot of guys that are getting healthy at the right time ... so coach's decisions."
Although he was wearing a walking boot just a few days before Game 1, Morrow played 16:36 and had four hits. He was pleasantly surprised with his performance.
"It was better than I thought, as sore as I was," he said.
Morrow said that he didn't have to convince Hitchcock to put him back in the lineup tonight. It wouldn't work anyway.
"I don't think he listens to anything we want to say anyway," Morrow said. "He's got his mind made up. He has a vision of a lineup he wants and I don't think talking to him is going to change his mind. He's set in his ways."
ODDS & ENDS
• Derek Roy will be a healthy scratch for tonight's game. In two games in the series, Roy has one assist, six shots and an even plus-minus rating. He played 18:07 in Game 1, which went to triple overtime, and 10:48 in Game 2, which ended in regular OT.
• The Blues have lost five consecutive games on the road in the playoffs, all in Los Angeles in the last two postseasons. The last victory away from Scottrade Center was April 19, 2012, in San Jose.
• The Blues are 2-0 in the series and Vladimir Tarasenko has a goal in each of the first two games. The Blues are 9-0-1 in their last ten games with Tarasenko in the lineup.