The massive open-ice it that knocked Chicago’s Marian Hossa out of Tuesday’s Blackhawks-Coyotes game and landed him in the hospital did not draw an in-game penalty. But the NHL wasted no time doling out punishment to Coyotes’ forward Raffi Torres.
Torres was suspended indefinitely Wednesday pending an in-person hearing on Friday, the league's Department of Player Safety announced. At minimum, that would keep Torres out of Thursday’s Game 4 in Chicago.
During the first period of Tuesday’s 3-2 Phoenix win, 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.
Here’s the hit...
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.”
Quenneville told Chicago Sun-Times reporter Adam Jahns that Hossa will not play on Thursday, and that he is is currently at home resting.
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.”
The ruling comes less than 24 hours after league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan suspended a trio of players for various in-game hits. Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham (cross-check) and James Neal (charging) were suspended for four and one game respectively for hits during Sunday’s brawl of a game in Philadelphia. Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was given a one-game suspension for cross-checking Boston forward Rich Peverley late in Boston’s 4-3 win on Monday.
And those are just the latest suspensions in a first-round full of them, which has fans, coaches, players and league officials alike scratching their heads over what should be done to curb the violence — and how to enforce league rules.
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