An Open Letter to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Wakey Wakey shirts

April 22, 2014, by

Dear Hawks,

Usually, I like you. Despite growing up loving Detroit (thanks to my brother), I always thought there was something about you that was a bit charming. Maybe it’s the awesome jersey, or the great crowds you always seem to draw, or maybe it’s Patrick Sharp’s face. I can’t be sure. I certainly appreciated you last year when you took out the team that steamrolled the New York area straight into baseball season. But this postseason…. not so much.

I guess it started off bad for you. I’d begun to like the Blues cause who can’t when there’s so much American Olympic representation, including the shootout king Oshie and a kid who grew up a Rangers fan in Shattenkirk. But still, there was a respect I felt for you and an excitement I felt in what would be a gritty, tough, skilled matchup. I would love to see some nice, clean hockey played between rivals.

But you can’t do that, huh? I guess that you could be upset that a team showing discipline and resiliency, tying game 1 with only 1:45 to go to bring it to triple overtime. Hey, it upset your coach so much that he threw a tantrum when he missed a call he wanted and acted like an 8 year old child crying in the sandbox. Pro tip, Q – nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants to see an old man grabbing their junk. Here’s the thing, Coach – where kids will see a dumb, immature action issued by their coach, that’s where they’re going to follow. DUH.

It should surprise no one that where you see a lack of discipline behind the bench, you’ll see it on the ice. All series, the Blackhawks have been sloppy; giving up pucks left and right to common defensive plays, taking foolish penalties on cross checks and slashes after the whistle, etc. The Hawks all but had game one in their corner, which would’ve handed the Blues their seventh straight loss and opened the series to a whole different situation.

But then Game 2 happened, and then I started to despise you, Hawks. It was chippy, sure, lots of little slashes and scrums here and there. For this, I can get behind the “it’s playoffs” defense. But then Bickell went knee out on Sobotka, a move that seemed despicable and out of control considering their lead so late in the third period. Fast forward barely one minute later when Seabrook thinks it’s hunting season and takes aim for Backes’ head. Two filthy (and not the good kind) plays back to back, followed up by taunting a player whose body crumbled like a ton of bricks thanks to a full speed shoulder to the head.

I suppose you shouldn’t have been surprised that upon losing their captain, the Blues hustled to tie the game with 6.4 to go, then drew yet another penalty (tsk tsk..) to win the game in just one overtime. But of all the gross, deplorable, inhumane things I’ve seen in my day – and I grew up with some girls who make Heathers look tame by nature – these shirts just take the cake. I want to try to justify this with words, but quite frankly, these people don’t deserve it.

After hearing the Captain and the alternate Captain of the Hawks make no remorse for the trash we were subjected to at the end of the game, all I can say is this: you stay classy, Chicago.

Lukewarm regards,


PS- Roenick seems pretty bored over at NBC, maybe you wanna offer him a contract? I hear he was good in NHL ’94. Cool.

Categories : Around the League, Rants


  1. Bloomer says:

    The Hawks have been sloppy with the puck because the Blues finish their checks. I wish our team would finish our checks, but our coach is “nice” and doesn’t want his players playing that way.

    Headshots cross the line, not only can they end a players career, they can serious impact a players’ life. Play the body, not the head with out charging or leaving the feet. As for the Chicago fans, maybe if they were on the receiving end of shoulder or elbow to the head from a hockey player travelling at the speed of sound, they would be a little more emphatic.

    • Becky says:

      Well said

      • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

        The Hawk are just as talented as the Blues. Either team could win. Comes down to who wants it more. In this case it looks to be the Blues. They haven’t had much luck in the playoffs while the Hawks have 2 cups.
        I wrote in contrast to what I’m saying now but I want to clearify.
        I look at the best teams in the regular season at least and they have the same core and depth players together for years. The Rangers core of a few guys remain yet most of the bottom 6 is all new free agent signings.
        So my point was to stick with the same players if you believe they can win a cup together. I think some of the guys Sather has let walk the last 2 years were heart & soul guys that help any pretender become a contender. They fill a roster with good guys like Prust (we all miss) Mitchell was good and has been better in Denver.
        However, there’s a flip side to this coin. When you have a team like the Hawks that have won 2 cups and gone from 8th seed surprise to win. To a powerhouse expected to be in the final 4 if not the finals. The Hawks are an example Becky of where I as GM would have created some turnover in the bottom 6 ranks and maybe even a top 6 shocker of a trade like an older player having a career year like pat Sharp to acquire draft picks or young stars of tomorrow. Too many teams allow their core to age until no longer competitive and a full rebuild is needed. I think the Hawks would be smart to bring in some hungry new players. After a cup or 2. Roster turnover is the right thing to do. There’s a team that does this every year and remains competitive every year. The Braves in MLB maybe. I’ll think about it. Can’t remember right now. Becky or anyone else. What do you think? I think the Blues are too young and fast and hungry for the Hawks. That’s why Seabrook made that hit on Backes. He should miss as much time as Backes. Brandon Shabbyhan was bad but the new regime has a chance to at least be consistent.

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      Oh you know if if was Toews stumbling around after a hard hit to the head. There’d be an outcry from Chicago. That hit on Backes was ridiculous. No reason for it at that time in a game and if I’m not mistaken the Hawks lost the game because of it. I hope the keep self inflicting these wounds on themselves. It comes down to complacency.
      Turnover is bad unless you’ve won 2 cups with many of the same players. Some may just wanna go home. After a cup win or 2 a GM has to bring in new hungry players. Or we get Chicago this year.

      • Joe says:

        Toews has been hit and been stumbling around the ice, by none other than St.Louis. St. Louis has been trying to beat people up for 2 years, ( See the Kings)how has that worked? Yes it was a cheapshot or maybe it was just the Karma train coming hard with payback.

  2. Paul says:

    Hey Becky,

    I am familiar with Chicago and but certainly do not have the insight or history or watching them that you have. However, I always thought they were a class-A organization that played hard but clean hockey. This playoff series has shifted my opinion about the team and not for the better.

    The tee-shirts are deplorable and in super bad taste. A heated rivalry is one thing, but making a mockery of an injured player (esp. one that was hurt on a bad hit) doesn’t only degrade the team or franchise, but undermines the NHL as a whole.

    Anyway, that’s the end of my short rant. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    • Paul says:

      also-i wrote that pre-coffee…apparently I do NOT have a grasp on the English language. Sorry

  3. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Props on covering some league wide events, Becky. You’ve inspired me to share some other league wide thoughts, since this is probably the most fitting place to do so…

    I’m not sure if anyone caught game 3 last night between the Ducks and Stars, but it was an AWESOME game. It was the first playoff game in Dallas in 5 years and those fans let it be known how much they like their playoff hockey. It was INSANE.

    After being at the garden for game 2, it left me feeling a little bitter. Sure, it was wild during the anthem and for the first half of the first period… and then again when we got on the refs for the embellishment calls but other than that the noise and participation levels were slightly embarrassing. Got to give kudos the the Flyers for quieting the game down, but man I wish we had a more vibrant atmosphere. It’s almost as if we Rangers fans take the playoffs for granted at times.

    Lastly, has anyone been following Beastmode Dubinsky in the Pens v Jackets series? Man do I miss him. One thing that you cant put a price tag on is how some players step up and make their presence known in the playoffs, while other players (won’t NAme nameSHere)simply disappear. I know the Rangers are only 2 games in so far but GO TIME is NOW.

    • Paul says:

      I caught the Ducks/Stars game, and wow- that play was ELECTRIC. Benn especially makes that crowd erupt (and rightly so IMO).

      I know a lot has been said about this, and everyone has an opinion but games at MSG were more ‘alive’ and raucous when I was younger, again IMO.

      ‘Beastmode Dubinsky’ got a golden opportunity to setup and assert himself as a leader in Columbus. Thus far, his efforts have exemplified a surging Jackets team and obviously the fans love his effort. Not sure he would have gotten that sort of chance to shine in NYC. either way, I wished him the best when he was traded and I’m stoked to see him playing at such a high level!

  4. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I have been watching the Blue Jackets/Pens series as well. I miss Doobie as well. Crosby has not been a factor. He is winning face offs, dumping Crosby on his derriere and putting up points. They almost had a 2-1 lead until a 3rd period melt down. Pens will have a long series.
    The point is playoff Hockey is different than the regular season. Intensity has to be there as well as physicality. Rangers need to amp up that part of the game especially against the Flyers who are known for retaliation and undisciplined penalties.
    Lastly as I watched the Jackets and Pens game and game 2 of our series, the referees should not skew a game. After the Jackets went up 2-0, 4 straight bogus calls were made on the Jackets. Those Penalties were momentum killers. It was a disgrace as were the embellishment calls against the Rangers. A referee should only call a flagrant penalty in the playoffs. If they have a doubt it should go uncalled. Refs do not ruin the game

  5. Becky says:

    This is gonna astonish roughly half the fanbase but Brandon Dubinsky is no longer a New York Ranger. That is all.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Of course he isn’t. But aren’t the “Around the League” / “Rants” categories the perfect venues to talk about how cool it would be if he still was? Or at least an adequate section of the blog to admire what he or other former Rangers are doing elsewhere? Or even what other teams are doing to stifle the post season dreams of our rivals?

      Regardless, I thought there was some pretty good food for thought up there I was hoping you’d weigh in on. I guess I’ll have to try harder next time : )

      • Becky says:

        Hey if you want a post about former Rangers you got it, Hat 🙂 and it was. I’m just not prepared for the insanity if the Rangers and Jackets face each other next round (assuming, of course, that both teams make it there)

  6. Chuck A says:

    Overtime theatrics aside, the childish, vicious violence is casting a pall on this years’ playoffs.

  7. Chris F says:

    I’m going to have to weigh in here and offer a dissenting view for I sense the outrage is wildly misplaced.

    Let’s look at what everyone is upset at: a bad hit, a tasteless quip, and shameful opportunism in the form of a tee-shirt. The conclusion from all this: the Chicago Blackhawks are a classless organization.

    Let’s look at this in context and try to flesh out whether this is an appropriate conclusion or an emotional, reflexive and misguided response.

    The Hit: Seabrook came in high and late in what was a suspendable offense. On this we can all agree. However, the target was David Backes, a player I love, but also a player who took every opportunity to staple Blackhawks players to the boards throughout games 1 and 2. You get an opportunity to line him up for a heavy hit, you take it. The result was bad, but I’m sure the intent was nothing more than a heavy hit thrown on the opposition’s hardest hitter. It was a hit thrown in the moment. It doesn’t necessitate classless or dirty intentions.

    The Quip: Sure, it’s tasteless to taunt an injured player. But, in the heat of the moment, with the adrenaline flowing, and seeing David Backes of all people laid out, as a Blackhawks player the normal response would be “F@ck yea!” It’s the compete nature of sports, and hockey specifically. “Wakey Wakey” sounds bad, but is it any worse than “F@ck yea!”? It was an instantaneous response, a verbal iteration of excitement seeing the guy who’s been bruising you and your teammates all night finally on the receiving end of a hard hit. You cannot judge this quip in the context of someone having the time to evaluate Backes’ condition and take the time to formulate a compassionate response to a possible head injury. Hockey is a war. Talk is part of the game. “Wakey wakey” probably sounded like a good thing to hell at the time. Again, you have judge this as the split second reaction it was.

    The T-Shirt: Here’s where the majority of ire should be directed. An idiot fan –with no association to the Blackhawks– tries to capitalize on the controversial soundbite. It’s classless and tasteless so much more than Keith’s comments because this fan actually had the time to reflect and to understand that Backes was in fact injured on an illegal hit. This is the only part of the entire situation in which someone had ample time to make the right decision and chose not to. This fan is the worst part of the entire situation and unfortunately everyone wants to keep writing about his Wakey Wakey shirts. It’s gone viral and now this whole “Blackhawks are classless” nonsense has been born. This fan is classless; it has nothing to do with the Blackhawks. Stopping adding to the viral circus that he’s started.

    • Becky says:

      When you leave your skates and aim for someone’s head is the absolute second you lose any kind of rationalization effort from me. I like that you worked it out here in an effort to do so, and I’m sure people agree with you; that being said, I don’t. I see it all as classless, distasteful, and abhorrent.

    • Becky says:

      Oh and, related: of course the fan is associated with the Blackhawks, s/he’s a Hawks fan. There’s your association. If you don’t want to add to the “viral circus” that this inconvenience seems to have started for you, don’t comment and let it die out.

      • Chris F says:

        Sorry, Becky, but by your rationale every organization is classless and abhorrent. Every team has had a player who threw a bad hit and every single team currently has numerous idiotic, classless, trashy fans, including the NY Rangers.

        Fans, by definition, (fanatics), are going to cross lines that the organization has nothing to do with.

        It’s disingenuous and selective to suggest otherwise.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      ^^I’m with Chris F on this 1. The hit was absolutely suspendable, and it was. It was hardly the most egregious hit we’ve seen in the playoffs this year. It was a HUGE BOOM, but it was a hockey play, just unfortunate there was so much head contact. Let’s keep in mind, though, the head wasn’t picked, it was just part of the collective body parts of Backes that Seabrook steamed through.

      As far as what the fan did….completely unrelated to the organization. It’s unfortunate, but at this point the most responsible thing to do would be to let it fade into the abyss of human silliness….much like many of Frank Cerbone’s comments : )

      • Becky says:

        Which hit was worse? If you say Cooke last night then you missed the Bickell knee…

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          I caught both knees. Both are less ‘hockey plays’ than Seabrooks hit. Not to say it wasn’t the most devastating, just the least predatory I guess.

  8. mikeyyy says:

    The last thing you want to do is incite your opponents. Blues in 4

  9. paulronty says:

    Hockey is the greatest game on earth but unfortunately the NHL is run by Cro-Magnon men with no sense of vision. The league is impotent in letting cheap shot violence fester & there is a whole cadre of players who will go out of their way to injure an opponent, cf. Lucic, Neil, Cooke etc. etc. And the officiating? Don’t get me going on that! IT SUCKS!! Zucc gets a diving penalty? Really?

  10. SalMerc says:

    Tell us how you really feel Beckster

  11. JT says:

    Dear Becky, let’s start with the t shirt situation. I’m still confused on how the Blackhawks organization is classless. They have nothing to do with that product and is actually looking to put an end to the person trying to distribute them. Moving on…maybe you’ve never played a sport before in your life but usually big games are very emotional. So let’s not complain about a coach or anyone being emotional. Seabrook a player never suspended before or even known as a dirty player. He made a play followed through with a check and unfortunately Backes was already in a bad position. I’m pretty sure he wasnt trying to get suspended from the playoffs and do any of that on purpose. And I’m also sure things worse have been said on the ice than Wakey wakey LaPierre is one of the dirtiest players so what about his hit last night. I bet if Brookbank was hurt he would of been suspended too. Or let’s talk about the angel Backes that doesn’t deserve anything. Remember a few years back during the nhl all star draft he was one of the last ones to get pick. That’s odd for being how good he is. Maybe it’s becuz no one in the league likes the guy bcuz he’s the one usually running his mouth or giving out cheap shots. Hockey is a tough sport and you to actually complain about all of this..you’re pretty soft. Have a good day and good luck the rest of the way.

    • Becky says:

      You sound like you’re not biased at all. And if your justification for being a bonehead is “you’ve never played a sport,” you’re basically no better than a desk with no rational thought.

      And for the record, I’ve played sports my whole life. Ya know, chick sports, like lacrosse. Good luck!

      • Chris F says:


        I disagreed with your assessment of the Blackhawks above, but I hope I did not come across as disrespectful as JT.

        We can disagree without disrespecting eachother.

        Thanks for your contributions here at BSB.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Becky, I’d like to echo Chris F’s thoughts. I hope we’re cool and I meant no disrespect in any of the above. JT came across very ‘harsh’ since I’m not allowed to curse at all and I hope I didn’t sound like him. That said, you da bomb and keep doing you.

        Lastly, how on earth do girls lacrosse sticks work? I’m more familiar with the men’s variety and am unable to operate a women’s lax stick any time I’ve previously tried. The whole no pocket thing doesn’t work for me.

  12. matt K says:


    Please spare me… I’m pretty sure Seabrook wanted to put Backes into the seats but I doubt that he wanted to hit him in the head. Your buddy Backes has been taking liberties with Chicago players for quite a long time.

    But let’s look at game three, I believe it was Pollack punching Bollig against the boards with no call, it was Ott driving Keith into the boards head first, when he could have pulled away, the puck was gone. It was Lapierre boarding Brookbank, or did you miss those hits? I played hockey for a lot of years and it is really easy to loose your composure when you see your teammates getting clubbed and there is no call

  13. KEN THE DMAN says:

    Only thing Baca** is good at is picking on 18 yr olds