St. Louis Blues captain David Backes delivered what seemed to be a legal hit on defenseman Kent Huskins in the third period on Friday night, in a hard-fought Central Division showdown. Backes appeared to get Huskins square in the chest with this hit, which came a few steps after Huskins had passed the puck up ice, as Huskins struggled to get to the bench and in obvious pain.
Watch the hit and the aftermath here:
With the game tied 3-3 midway through the third, Backes was hit with a match penalty and ejected for what the officials deemed an illegal hit to the head. Pavel Datsyuk scored on the ensuing power play for the Red Wings and Henrik Zetterberg put the game away -- and securing a hat trick -- with an empty net goal to give the Wings a 5-3 victory.
With the NHL making it a point to focus on illegal hits to the head, supposedly, this is a clear example of the officials on the ice reacting to a an injury resulting from what was a perfectly legal hit on the replay. That such an egregiously bad call directly resulted in turning the tide of the game is downright shameful and just another case of a growing list of questionable calls by the on-ice officials.
Is this another example of the perceived regression of NHL officiating, or the on-ice officials reacting to pressure to punish hits to the head -- a pressure that comes from the fans and media just as much as it does the league?