David Backes didn’t pull any punches following Wednesday’s Game 2 loss to the Blues, harping on the severity of the hit that sent Matt Grzelcyk to the hospital in the closing minutes of the first period.
The hit, delivered by Blues center Oskar Sundqvist, only resulted in a two-minute minor for boarding, but Backes believed that supplementary discipline was going to be in the cards for the St. Louis pivot.
A look at the hit on by Oskar Sundqvist on Matt Grzelcyk. Didn't look good. pic.twitter.com/3yjlbhgkvs
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 30, 2019
"I don’t think that’s a hit we want in our game,” Backes said. “I think it’s from behind, elevated into his head into the glass. If that’s a two-minute penalty, there’s going to be a shortage of defensemen in this series by the end of it.
“That’s in somebody else’s hands. That’s something I think that if I’m making that hit, I’m probably watching from the bleachers for a few but we will see what happens with their player.”
It appears as though the NHL Department of Player Safety agreed with Backes’ sentiments — as the league announced Thursday night that Sundqvist will be suspended for Game 3 on Saturday night for his hit on Grzelcyk.
This is the first suspension of Sundqvist’s career — and the fifth time this postseason that a player has been suspended, joining Nikita Kucherov, Nazem Kadri, Charlie McAvoy and Joe Thornton.
While Sundqvist will be sidelined for Saturday’s contest at Enterprise Center, Grzelcyk’s timetable is much more uncertain — as the puck-moving defenseman did not travel with the rest of the team to St. Louis on Thursday.
“He's in (concussion) protocol. When we have a further update, we'll give it to you. Obviously, we're going to list him day to day,” Bruce Cassidy said of Grzelcyk. “It's Thursday, we don't play till Saturday. Typically I’ll give out the lineup either Friday or Saturday. Right now that's the best I got for you. See how it goes from there.”