UPDATE (1:45 p.m.): The NHL has suspended Phoenix forward Raffi Torres indefinitely for his hit to the head of Chicago’s Marian Hossa. Read the full report here.
At this rate, the rewind buttons at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will likely need to be replaced before the start of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
With all the high hits, head-hunting and shameless sucker-punching going on this postseason, Brendan Shanahan and company are issuing handfuls of suspensions daily.
And another stiff punishment should come Wednesday when they review the open-ice hit Phoenix bruiser Raffi Torres delivered on Chicago star forward Marian Hossa in the Coyotes’ 3-2 win Tuesday night. With the puck already up the ice, Torres left his feet and launched himself at Hossa, driving his shoulder through the Blackhawks’ leading point-getter’s head.
Hossa lay twitching on the ice after the hit — which did not draw a penalty, but did instigate a fight — and was eventually taken off on a stretcher and transported to a nearby hospital.
“After initial evaluation on the ice, (Hossa) was taken by ambulance to the hospital for further testing, which yielded encouraging results,” Blackhawks team physician Michael Terry said in a statement from the team. “He has been released from the hospital and we are monitoring him closely at home.”
Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville was understandably furious in an interview with an on-ice TV reporter moments after the hit.
“I saw the whole play, he was going 100 miles per hour, no puck,” Quenneville said. “Hit was head to head, it was a brutal hit, I can’t believe four guys missed it. It makes me sick.”
After the game, Torres — who has a history of run-ins with the Blackhawks dating back to his time with Vancouver — wished Hossa the best.
“First off, I hope he’s all right,” Torres said. “But as far as the hit goes, I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there, and, as I said, I hope he’s all right.”
Now the Blackhawks will likely have to pull themselves out of a 2-1 series hole without their top offensive weapon.
It was another busy day for Brendan Shanahan, who finally sorted out the mess from Sunday’s Penguins-Flyers melee and also issued suspensions for hits in Monday night’s action.
Arron Asham, Penguins — Suspended four games for cross-checking Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn across the throat. (Video)
James Neal, Penguins — Suspended one game for charging Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux. (Video)
Craig Adams, Penguins — Suspended one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes against Philadelphia. (Video)
What about the hockey?
Yes, there was some action on the ice on Tuesday night that did not involve game misconduct penalties.
Panthers 4, Devils 3 (Florida leads series 2-1): Three-goal leads are about as comfortable as coach seating this postseason and the Panthers continued the trend on Tuesday, rallying from an early 3-0 hole to chase Martin Brodeur and take the series lead. Brian Campbell’s second-period power-play goal held up as the game winner and goalie Scott Clemmensen made 19 saves over the final 54 minutes to help Florida spoil New Jersey’s return to home ice.
Predators 3, Red Wings 1 (Nasvhille leads series 3-1): Kevin Klein scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Pekka Rinne posting another 40-save effort to lift Nashville to a second straight win in Hockey Town and push Detroit to the brink of elimination. Gabrielle Borque tallied his third goal of the series for the Predators, who can clinch a spot in the Western Conference semifinals for a second straight season with a victory on Friday in Nashville.
Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT) (Phoenix leads series 2-1): Mikkel Boedker scored from a sharp angle just more than 13 minutes into overtime to lift the Coyotes to a come-from-behind victory. Chicago’s Andrew Brunette opened the scoring in the first period and Michael Frolik reclaimed the lead for the Blackhawks midway through the third. But Ray Whitney answered 32 seconds later to knot the score and send the game to overtime for the second straight contest.
Wednesday’s schedule & notes
• Rangers at Senators, 7:30 (CNBC) — New York leads series 2-1
Brian Boyle’s goal was the only tally in New York’s Game 3 win as the forward showed no ill effects from the beat-down he received courtesy of Matt Carkner two nights prior. Henrik Lundqvist was his typically stellar self in the shutout performance, and the Senators must get more traffic in front of net to boost their struggling offense.
• Penguins at Flyers, 7:30 (NBCSN) — Philadelphia leads series 3-0
Pittsburgh will be without three of its regulars — all suspended — as it tries to regroup from a disastrous start to this intra-state rivalry. The Penguins have allowed eight goals in each of the last two games, but that shouldn’t stop Marc-Andre Fleury from getting another start between the pipes in an elimination game.
• Canucks at Kings, 10 (NBCSN) — Los Angeles leads series 3-0
Leading goal-scorer Daniel Sedin has missed 12 straight games with concussion symptoms but could be in the lineup tonight to provide a much-needed boost as the Presidents Cup trophy winners try to avoid a first-round sweep.
Feinstein: Caps-Bruins series is getting chippy