BOSTON — Jonathan Toews is traveling with the Blackhawks to Long Island today rather than heading home, a positive sign after a scary hit Thursday night in Boston. Toews left the game in the second period after being sent face-first into the boards by Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
The NHL’s department of player safety took a long look at the hit, but decided against any supplemental discipline for Seidenberg. The feeling was Seidenberg was battling for the puck rather than tracking Toews for any extended period of time, and hit him more from the side than directly between the numbers. Scary as the hit was, it didn’t appear predatory.
“I pride myself on being a clean player, and a hard player to play against,” Seidenberg said after the game. “So when I went in on that one-on-one battle there, I thought I saw his right shoulder. And at the last second, he might have turned, I don’t know. … I would never want to hurt a guy. That’s the last thing on my mind. I like playing hard and winning my board battles, and that’s about it.”
Boston coach Claude Julien put much of the blame on Toews himself.
“We need to start educating our players to protect themselves better,” Julien said. “We keep turning our backs. We keep trying to curl away. A player’s job is to finish his check. So a player should know he’s going to be hit, and I think it’s not about tonight, it’s about the whole league. I’m one of those guys that have really put a lot of pressure on people that look at those kind of things and say, listen, it’s OK to take away those hits from behind when they’re warranted. But what about the other guy? Does he not have a responsibility?”
Asked if he agreed with Julien, Seidenberg said: “If you go through the middle, you have to have your head up right? Again, it was just unfortunate how he went into the boards, obviously. Again I try to be clean. I thought I had his right shoulder but it just kind of happened and it just didn’t look that great.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville declined to comment on the hit after the game, saying he needed to see it again. Patrick Sharp said that Seidenberg is respected and has a reputation for being a clean player, but added, “We don’t like that hit.”