Obviously the entire hockey world has seen the hit
Coyotes forward Raffi Torres put on Marian Hossa on Tuesday night. The league has already suspended Torres indefinitely, and the Blackhawks have already ruled Hossa out of Game Four on Thursday night.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett told the collected media on Wednesday that he thought it was a hockey play, describing the hit as something that happens this time of year.
Phoenix general manager Don Maloney then took it a step further, telling the Arizona Republic
, "You would think Raffi murdered a bus load of children the way he’s portrayed here in Chicago.”
On the other side of the rink, Chicago is still frustrated that rookie forward Andrew Shaw was suspended for three games for running into Mike Smith early in Game Two; Smith didn't leave the ice for over 70 minutes and played over 73 minutes on Tuesday.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will probably get a notice from the league office about his comments regarding the officiating during and after the game on Tuesday. Clearly he was both confused and angered by two officials have a clear look at the Torres hit and neither calling a penalty on the play.
So where do we go from here?
From the Coyotes' perspective, one has to think Torres is done for at least the rest of the first round series (four games). The meeting with the league office, scheduled for Friday, is an in-person hearing, which usually indicates a suspension of at least five games is coming.
Torres has actually been one of the more active forwards for Phoenix, and losing him will be a blow to their lineup. They were already without Martin Hanzal and Lori Korpikoski.
But for Chicago, the loss is more significant. Hossa is one of the better all-around forwards in the league and had an exceptional season, finally getting healthy after struggling with various issues over the last couple seasons. The Blackhawks will, for at least two games, be without one of their key veteran forwards and a surprising rookie that was getting a lot of work from Quenneville.
Which brings us to how the Blackhawks plan to fill out their roster for Game Four.
After practice on Wednesday afternoon, Quenneville said it's "very possible" that 19-year-old Brandon Saad will be on the ice on Thursday night.
Saad, a second round pick by Chicago in the 2011 NHL Draft (43rd overall), had an outstanding year with the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL. He finished the postseason with eight goals and nine assists in 12 playoff games after posting 76 points (34 goals, 42 assists) in just 44 regular season games. He was named the OHL's Most Sportsmanlike Player
Reality is that no teenager is going to replace the impact of Hossa on the ice for the Blackhawks. But Chicago will have to try to tie the series on Thursday night in front of another packed house at the United Center with who they have available. Photo credit: Getty Images