Chicago Sun-Times

Video: Brendan Smith's head hit on Ben Smith

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bensmith.jpeg(Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)


Here's some responses from the Blackhawks and Detroit coach Mike Babcock on Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith's hit on forward Ben Smith.

Coach Joel Quenneville: "Both referees said that's a classic example of what we're talking about. That's the illegal hit. It was pretty black and white. I'm not happy about it. [Ben Smith is] better, we'll see how he is tomorrow. The severity of these suspensions have been very big. It's going to get [the players'] attention, and I'm sure players will learn."

Jonathan Toews: "It's just scary to see a guy go down, especially when it's your teammate. It sucks. It sucks for him. He was playing a good game, scored a big goal for us in the third period. You never want that to happen to anyone.

"Before I comment on the hit, I have to see it again to make sure you know what happened. It happened pretty quick when you see it from the bench. If it was a cheap hit, hopefully they take care of it the right way. I've seen a couple of them in the preseason. It's unbelievable. They're cracking down and it's still happening. It sucks for Benny. Hopefully, he gets better. Hopefully, it's just one of those things where he just got his bell rung and it goes away quickly."

Marian Hossa: "The National Hockey League, the [NHLPA], everybody talked about [head hits] and it happens again in the preseason. It's something you don't want to see with a young player like that... It didn't look good at all."

Patrick Kane: "That's just a hit you have to get rid of. It's scary. Just a little nudge like that. The game is so fast, and an elbow to the head and to see [Ben Smith] just down and out. Hopefully he's OK. I'm not sure what his status is, but hopefully that's a big suspension. The league's got to take care of that hit."

Detroit coach Mike Babcock: "The interesting thing about the league now - and I don't doubt that [Brendan Smith's] shoulder hit [Ben Smith's] head - is there any responsibility on the puck carrier, toe-dragging, sliding sideways, to look after himself? Doesn't appear like there is anymore, is there? You come across the middle, toe-dragging like this, and you get dinged. And I'm not saying that our guy isn't guilty, his shoulder hit his head, you better not put yourself in those situations I would say. There will be a video report about it tomorrow, I'm sure."

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33 Comments

Babcock is a ---hole

F Mick Babcock.

the editor puts a picture of him on the ice to start to freak whoever reads this out. If he was a biased writer he would not have done that. And F yourself, babcock isnt an A hole he isnt the only one who feels this way about the hitting rule. The player needs to be accountable for getting hit from dekeing, and toe dragging into a different direction. Babcock never said he wasnt gulity, hes just expressing a flaw in the rule. And if it wasnt a blackhawk getting hit you woudlnt be so upset. Bredan Smith was not intentionally going after his head at all. The player side skated out of the way and he got hit in the head because of that. DOESNT MEAN HES not guilty of the hit, but once again a player putting himself into a more dangerous situation should be looked at when a hit is being looked at. Its not like Brendan went out head hunting Smith becasue they share the last name.


He stuck his shoulder out and hit him in the head while going by! That's a cheap
shot and he had enough time to cross the ice and think what to do when Ben Smith went by. I am surprised nobody went after that stupid red wing defenseman. Stink Wings knew exactly what to do knowing that the Hawks are thin at center ice to begin with. Maybe next time somebody take one of their vaunted defenseman out and see what happens! Hate Detroit!!!!

Hate Detroit? Really the word Hate? Nothing but put downs and anger here - use your brain and look at the play for what it was, a simple accident on a hit intended for a body. Grow up.

Let me see if I understand this correctly...A player with the puck going in on the goalie is not supposed to move, deke, toe drag, etc. If he does he is putting himself in danger of a head hit???? This is hockey, you are supposed to try and fake out the goalie and the opposing player. Babcock's logic is like blaming the victim of a violent crime because they looked funny or wore too much makeup.

Funny, (J Bush) I would bet you would have preferred the editor to insert a picture of a rock garden..... maybe a soaring eagle. What picture should he have used?

Cheap shot = SUSPENSION!

Cheap shot by a player who was beaten on the play! to try to blame Smith for the hit is a cowardly attempt to deflect blame from the player who DELIBERATELY elbowed Smith in the head to avoid a break-away on goal. I hope the league makes an example of Brendan Smith!

Keep your head up

Wow really wings fans trying to defend this chump? He went for, hit and looked back to make sure he hit Smith in the head! How obvious can you be? Ya sure the game is fast but he knew exactly what he was doing, watch the video. Ben Smith's move is not that drastic and didn't change his direction enough to put himself in harms way. Sad part is the guy could have had an outstanding hit if he went shoulder to shoulder and Ben Smith would not have been knocked out. I bet this was retribution, the goal Smith scored to tie the game was on this chumps previous shift.

It was a cheap shot. You can even see his elbow extending after he hit his head. He was probably going for the body but when he got beat he decided to stop Ben Smith anyway he could. And it's only pre season on a game that they want to win but means nothing.

Maybe if this kid picked his head up, he wouldn't have been laying on the ice. He should have left that toe drag $h!t for bar league and not the nhl.

There is no reason for his elbow to be a head level. Definite multi-game suspension.

ur an idiot.....accident?

Watch the reply again. His head is up. Looking at the goalie, trying to get a shot off, slowing down to beat the defender and have him go by... The defender was beat on the play, realized he had no chance to stop Smith so he stuck out whatever he could to get a piece of him --> HIS HEAD. That's exactly what the NHL is trying to stop exactly because of how dangerous it is.

I don't blame Babcock for defending his player and for talking about the skaters responsibility (in general) in hits to the head. It's something Shanahan and the NHL/NHLPA mentioned themselves in the new rules video they put out.

HOWEVER, that was not Ben Smith's fault at all and is exactly the sort of hit that should results in big suspensions.

Played hockey my whole life. Detroit player absolutely targeted head (chin) with shoulder. No stick check, no body check, just plain going for the opposing player's head. This is an easy call. Anyone arguing the opposite is drowning in their own ignorance.

Did IQ's suddenly drop overnight in Detroit? Can't be, that would imply that they were above that of an idiot to start with.
Any troglodyte who thinks there is any blame to be placed on Ben Smith in this situation should have his membership in the human race revoked. You're talking about a deliberate hit to the head, that could easily have been avoided, in a meaningless game, that could potentially have negative repercussions for the rest of the young man's life.
Hey Mike, switch to boxers. I think your briefs are too tight and cutting off the blood supply to your brain.

you can clearly see he ran his face into the Detroit players shoulder....Whats the problem?

Look at the video AGAIN - Ben Smith was trying to avoid the hit and clearly that $$$$ from Detroit was leading with his shoulder and left the ice - If B. Smith continued forward it would have been much worse. Why raise your elbow up when B. Smith is a smaller player? If you want to knock him off the puck with a check to the body hey thats clean but what he did was cheap and I hope it costs him at least 8 games (see Wiesnewski suspension). Also, stop trying to defend a coach who has a team full of cheapshot wussies who refuse to drop the gloves.

Played hockey my whole life too.

Any real player will tell you that when you drop your head to look at the puck in your feet dip your should and cut to the middle of the ice you will get hurt.

Detroit's Smith was the last defenseman back on an otherwise breakaway. He can't just "let the player go by" as one of Chicago's wingers suggest (guess that's why he's a winger not a d-man).

He didn't target the chin (that's a homer quote). Chicago's Smith dipped his head to look at the puck then cut left. That changed the angle of the hit. Detroit's Smith caught shoulder first (but barely if you slow down the replay enough) and his shoulder rode up and then caught Chicago's Smith in the head.

Dirty? No
Clean? No
Unfortunate? No
Suspend able? Yes (but only as reckless and not as intentional)

Doesn't matter what Ben Smith did, Brendan extended his elbow and finished high. The angle he had called for him to lead with the shoulder and get the body....he decided to take the cheap shot. He's a redwing, what do you expect? They haven't mattered for the last two years and can't stand that the Hawks were lifting the cup two years ago.

As long as Brendan is playing the next time these two teams square up.....we'll make sure he pays the price but we'll do it the right way and not the cowardly red wing cheap shot way!

"you can clearly see he ran his face into the Detroit players shoulder....Whats the problem?"

LOL

So, players shouldn't be allowed to deke or fake anymore, for fear that someone might smash their head in?

Whatever!

The "footballification" of hockey is what got us into this mess. Get rid of the feather-light ultra-hard armor and maybe some of these morons could learn to PLAY!

Sorry, but I like to see dekes and fakes. And passes and goals. More than I like to see hits. I can see those in football.

Dude, babcock is exactly that...he is a piece of garbage coach.

Babcock is absolutely right. It sucks for the guy who takes that hit, but everything is happening so fast. Do any of you really think in the moment that the defenseman is thinking, "yeah I am going to take this guy's head off"?? If you think that you are a moron and know nothing about the game. Same with knee to knee hits. 99% of the time it is accidental and completely unintentional. Some responsibility has to be on the puck carrier too.

Amazing...all of you self-styled experts who didn't even know you had a team three years ago.

Brendan Smith was drafted in '07 and is trying to find a way to make the team. Last year he had 32 points in 63 games, not too shabby, but he's probably better known for his near penalty/game output of 124 minutes.

He aimed for the head, he's trying to make the team, taking someone out is a helluva way to make an impression on the coach.

Typical Scum move!

Personally knowing Brendan Smith for all of his 22 year old life, I know for a fact that he is not the type of player to aim for someone's head in a hit. He respects and loves this game, he respects the players that are on the ice. Do I think that Brendan should be suspended, yes but I do not agree with all of those individuals who are saying that he is trying to make the team by going for an head shot. Last time I checked, head shots are suspending players from the game...not getting the players more ice time or a position on a team.

I think its funny how big a deal everyone is making of this... I played competitive hockey from the time I was a kid and for a D1 College team... What you cant see from the cameras is that both skaters are skating their hardest. Throwing a check like that at full speed is like shooting a bullet at a moving target from a moving vehicle. He didn't mean to hit him in the head. It just happened. I agree with Babcock, the puck carrier should have some accountability too. From the time you lace em' up for the first time every coach on every team tells you the same thing "keep your head up".

Brendan Smith has a bright future. He'll learn from this and move on. Hossa and Kane need to get off of their high horses. It could happen to anyone. Didn't Kane go for the head in a taxicab? Class act. Kane's fun to watch but I wouldn't piss down his throat if his guts were on fire. Considering most Chicagoans just started watching hockey during the 2010 playoff run, I'm surprised they even have a grasp on the rules. Enjoy the season. This should continue to be a great rivalry.

You know what? If smone cross checks Brendan Smith in the mouth, maybe 5 teeth worth, you won't see that again

Accident? Maybe. But it Still Happened. If a stick rides up a player's body or stick and causes an injury to his face, for instance, even if it was Accidental, it's still a penalty. So some good advice would be to use caution to not put yourself in position to cause injury - accidental or otherwise and get suspended. You're right about "hate", though. Too much of that. It's not necessary. It's childish.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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