All the traditional jerseys were worn and all the superstitions acted upon as the Chicago Blackhawks tried to stave off elimination in the 2012 NHL playoffs. Captain Jonathan Toews took his team aside after the morning skate on Saturday with no coaches involved. The message was quite clear, they needed the win from this road game and needed the stars to pick up their game and get a win, preferably in regulation.
The last four games have gone to overtime with Mikkel Boedker winning the last 2 in Chicago with two weak goals getting by Corey Crawford. Whispers were in the air of veteran Ray Emery possibly getting the start for game five. Coach Q made the announcement that they were sticking with Crawford. Mike Smith was automatically in for the Coyotes.
Earlier in the afternoon it was decided that Raffi Torres would sit in a suit for 25 games. He was suspended for his hit on Marian Hossa during the first period in Game 3. Read more »
It was the same story for the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal with the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. The Hawks rallied back late, this time from a late two-goal deficit to send a fourth consecutive game into overtime. However, it was the Coyotes who once again found a way to pull out the game, prevailing 3-2. Phoenix now holds a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with a home game coming up Saturday.
As has been the case in this series, the Hawks were active early. Dave Bolland’s line had a nice shift in the second minute. Bolland got a puck on the doorstep thanks to a failed shot attempt by Bryan Bickell, but Mike Smith came up with a save. Shane Doan interfered with Patrick Kane at the 2:12 mark of the first, but couldn’t take advantage. Read more »
Here’s the video of Raffi Torres hit on Marian Hossa
[Update: 12:00pm 04/18/12] The NHL has announced Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely pending an in-person hearing in New York on Friday. Torres could waive his right to an in-person hearing and conduct his hearing via teleconference today but chose instead to meet with Brendan Shanahan face-to-face on Friday. In-person hearings are typically only offered to players when the discipline is going to be in excess of three or more games.
As you can see, Hossa put himself in a bad spot in stopping and cutting back into the path of the hard Phoenix backcheck, last supplied by Torres. However, Torres leaves his feet and makes direct contact to Hossa’s chin to which there is no excuse for. Had Torres not jumped into the collision, there would have been nothing wrong with the play.
According to various reports, Hossa left Northwestern Memorial Hospital last night under his own power before the conclusion of the Blackhawks-Coyotes game with what was rumored to be a fractured jaw and is now resting at home.
Considering the severity of injury to Hossa, the probability that Hossa will miss some games and that Torres has been suspended twice in the past thirteen months, you would expect Torres will get whacked by the NHL’s czar of discipline, Brendan Shanahan.
Four months ago, Torres was suspended two games for leaving his feet to check Minnesota’s Nate Prosser in a game on December 31. Last night’s check on Hossa came a year to the day Torres, then a member of the Vancouver Canucks, knocked Brent Seabrook silly with an ugly hit in Game 3 of last year’s conference quarter finals at the United Center. Torres was not suspended for that play even though it was his first game back from a four game suspension incurred during a late regular season game when he took a run at Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle.
Torres is expected to have a disciplinary hearing with Shanahan as soon as this afternoon. Game 4 is tomorrow night (Thursday) at United Center.
Here’s the video of Torres hit on Seabrook a year ago. Read more »
Another tightly contested game between Phoenix and Chicago saw the visiting Coyotes take the series advantage. The visiting Coyotes escaped with a 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday night. Mikkel Boedker was the ovetime hero for Phoenix on a sharp-angle goal at the 13:15 mark of the extra session.
The first period was marred by a late hit from Raffi Torres on Marian Hossa right in front of the ‘Hawks bench. Early signs were not good, as Hossa dropped to the ice, slamming the back of his head, and Blackhawks medical staff jumped over the boards before the puck was even blown dead. Little time was wasted before the stretcher was brought out and Hossa wheeled to an ambulance, at which point he was communicating but had still not yet regained movement. Fortunately, he was able to return home, under further monitoring, with what is being called a broken jaw. Read more »
Bickell emerges as frontrunner for John Druce Award
By Rich Lindbloom
OK, you can breathe now. With seconds remaining on the jobing.com Center’s scoreboard, the Blackhawks managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite outshooting the dogged Coyotes 50-33, the Hawks were quite fortunate to emerge triumphant over a tenacious, disciplined Phoenix squad. Bryan Bickell scored two goals, including the game winner in overtime late Saturday night; or was it early Sunday morning? He’s clearly the front runner for the John Druce Award, named after a role player who scored 14 goals in 15 games for Washington in the 1990 playoffs. Although goals are an obvious mark of a player’s efficacy, they often overshadow the less refined parts of the game. Refined is not generally a word associated with Bickell; he’s more like a working man’s hero. Just prior to his game winner, Brian started throwing his body around like dat Buff-lin guy did a few years ago. (Now that’s hockey.) I believe on one shift he clobbered three different Coyotes, seeming to take a sadistic delight inflicting pain upon his unsuspecting prey. Read more »