Torres is hit with indefinite suspension
The NHL suspended Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres indefinitely Wednesday for knocking Chicago’s Marian Hossa out of Tuesday’s Game 3 - and maybe the playoffs - with a shoulder blow to the head.
Hossa won’t play in Game 4 Thursday with the Coyotes leading the series, 2-1. He was at home resting, exchanging texts with his Blackhawks teammates less than 24 hours after he was carried off the ice on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.
The NHL scheduled a Friday hearing in New York for Torres, a player who has a reputation for big - and some say dirty - hits.
Depending on the locker room, the severity of the blow - one year after Torres did the same thing to Chicago’s Brent Seabrook while playing for Vancouver - differed.
“I’ve seen a lot of other hits like it in the league. It’s a fast game,’’ Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “The thing about TV is you can slow it down. When you’re out there on the ice, it’s not slowed down. It’s a fast game.
“I don’t think there was any malicious intent on Raffi’s part. He’s a hard hitter. He turned, coming full speed, caught a guy right in the chest. Unfortunately, the player was injured.’’
Torres’s skates were off the ice as he hit Hossa and sent Chicago’s regular-season points leader crashing to the ice in the first period. Hossa had just passed the puck when he was hit.
“There’s only been one dirty hit in our series and you saw the same thing from that guy last year in the same series,’’ Chicago’s Patrick Sharp said. “You know it’s coming. You try to warn your linemates and be aware when he’s on the ice. He’s got a history of targeting guys’ heads and having questionable hits.’’
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville reiterated that the hit on Hossa was “brutal.’’ He said there was little change in Hossa’s condition without being specific.
Asked if Hossa’s injury was long-term, Quenneville said: “We’ll see.’’
Hossa went to a hospital for tests Tuesday night before he was taken home. A team doctor said a full recovery is expected but there is no timetable.
Torres, who wasn’t available Wednesday, spoke after the game and said: “I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there.’’
The Blackhawks weren’t buying it.
“In the history of the game, hitting is used to dislodge a player from the puck, not the intent to injure when you don’t have the puck because you aren’t aware. To me, that wasn’t a hockey play,’’ said the Blackhawks’ Andrew Brunette.
“When you don’t have the puck, there shouldn’t be that kind of contact.’’
Torres was not penalized for his hit. Quenneville said after the game that the refereeing was “a disgrace.’’
The Wild said that goalie Niklas Backstrom (ankle), left wing Dany Heatley (knee), and right wing Devin Setoguchi (ankle) all have had surgery since their season ended.