I am not going to get into too much detail about last night’s Game 3 between the Blackhawks and Coyotes, because to be quite honest with you, I’ll get too upset if I think about it that much.
Around half way through the first period, Raffi Torres sent Marian Hossa to the hospital with a completely illegal hit to the head. A perfect example of what the NHL is trying to take out of the game. Less than a second after the puck left Hossa’s stick at about center ice, Torres launched himself off his feet into Hossa, sending Hossa down to the ice while possibly unconscious. Hossa stayed down on the ice motionless for about 5 minutes before the medical staff was able to get him onto a stretcher and wheel him off the ice.
With around 30 seconds left in the first, Patrick Kane’s wrist shot hit off the body of Andrew Brunette and made its way past Mike Smith to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The second period featured a few scoring chances from each team, but no goals were scored. At the end of the period, Jonathan Toews shot the puck at Mike Smith right after the horn had blown, thus leading to a big confrontation between every player on the ice, including the goalies. Only Toews was assessed a 2-minute roughing penalty.
In the third period during a 4 on 4 for 2 minutes, 3 goals were scored! Rostislav Klesla scored the first one that tied the game with a slap shot that beat Crawford. Just over half a minute later, Michael Frolik scored to give the Hawks a one-goal lead. Then, just 32 seconds after that, Ray Whitney added another goal for Phoenix to tie the game at 2. At the end of regulation, the game remained tied and it headed to overtime for the third straight game in this series.
In OT, Mikkel Boedker scored from the goal line to Corey Crawford’s right to win the game and give Phoenix a 2-1 lead in the series. Crawford admitted after the game that this was a terrible goal to give up.
Now, let me say a few words about Raffi Torres.
This guy is a disgrace to the game of hockey. He has zero respect for any of his opponents, and now he has no respect from the fans. He simply goes out onto the ice head-hunting, looking to literally knock guys out. In fact, it was exactly a year ago last night that he put a violent hit to the head on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 3 of the Canucks-Blackhawks first round series. Torres has been suspended twice in his career, with the first one coming on April 11, 2011. He committed a violent head-shot on Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers, and was suspended 4 games, including the first 2 games of playoffs against the Blackhawks. Then, this past December 31, he was suspended 2 games for charging Nate Prosser of the Minnesota Wild.
There is no doubt that Torres will receive a suspension for his hit last night on Hossa, but no one quite knows how many games he will receive, and that is why the NHL’s disciplinary system is so messed up. On a hit like the one last night, most people familiar with the game of hockey should at least have some idea as to how many games Torres will be suspended. Unfortunately, Brendan Shanahan and his crew have been all over the place this year with their suspensions, making it virtually impossible to predict their decisions.
I’ll just say this. If Torres gets 3 games or less, then this whole thing is a complete joke. My reasoning? Andrew Shaw was just given a 3 game suspension yesterday for his hit on Coyotes goalies Mike Smith. Smith was not injured on the play, and Shaw had no previous history of suspensions or fines. Torres on the other hand, does have a bad history, and Hossa was injured on the play.
Aside from the announcement of Torres’ suspension, look for Hawks coach Joel Quenneville to possibly get fined today for his comments last night about the referees. He said that they “were a disgrace,” among some other words.
Game 4 is Thursday night at the United Center. This is now a must win for the Blackhawks, and it is going to have to come without one of the best players in the world in Marian Hossa.
Thanks for reading.
Update: Torres’ hearing with the NHL has been moved to Friday. The meeting will take place in New York. Also, because it is an in-person meeting and not over the phone, the NHL can give Torres a suspension of 5 games or more if they choose to.