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Coyotes shrug at Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa

Hawks winger BrandBollig is held back away from Phoenix winger Raffi Torres (#37) after Torres' hit Marian Hossfirst period game

Hawks winger Brandon Bollig is held back and away from Phoenix winger Raffi Torres (#37) after Torres' hit on Marian Hossa in the first period of game three of the first-round Stanley Cup series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday April 17, 2012. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 21, 2012 8:47AM



In the NHL, brutality is in the eye of the beholder.

Blackhawks coaches and players were seething in the aftermath of Raffi Torres’ check of Marian Hossa that sent Hossa off the ice on a stretcher in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night. But Coyotes coach Dave Tippett and his players were wondering what all the fuss was about.

‘‘Accidents happen,’’ said Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker.

‘‘It’s a high-paced contact sport,’’ Coyotes veteran Ray Whitney explained. ‘‘If you don’t want to get hit and you don’t want to get hurt, there are other sports you can play. We certainly don’t want the best players in the league getting injured. That’s not the intent. But there’s a certain way you have to play in the playoffs, and finishing your checks is one of them. Nobody said winning a Stanley Cup was going to be easy.’’

Tippett not only defended Torres but quickly pointed out that Duncan Keith’s cheap shot on the Canucks’ Daniel Sedin last month was worse. Torres’ hit on Hossa was just hockey — and became a big deal only because of slow-motion replays, media attention and Twitter.

‘‘I’ve seen a lot of other hits like it,’’ Tippett said. ‘‘It’s a fast game. [On] TV you can slow it down and [freeze it]. When you’re on the ice, it’s not slowed down. He’s a hard hitter. That’s the way he plays. He turned, coming full speed [and] caught a guy right in the chest. Unfortunately, the player was injured. But I don’t think it was malicious intent like some of the cross-checks to the face or Keith’s elbow on Sedin.’’

The Hawks did not condemn Keith for his transgression, but they at least acknowledged it might have been over the line. Jonathan Toews said Keith ‘‘may have gone a little overboard there.’’ And Quenneville, while calling it a ‘‘reactionary move,’’ didn’t totally absolve Keith. ‘‘You’ve got to make sure you think sometimes,’’ he said after Keith was suspended for five games. Even Keith referred to the play as ‘‘a mistake’’ Wednesday.

The Coyotes barely acknowledged the Torres hit even happened.

‘‘Honestly, I still haven’t seen the hit. I’m not even kidding,’’ defenseman Keith Yandle said.

‘‘I really didn’t see what happened,’’ Boedker said. ‘‘I just saw him lyin’ on the ice.’’

Did you see a replay?

‘‘I did, but I don’t want to comment on it.’’

Any thoughts on it, Adrian Aucoin?

‘‘Nope,’’ the former Blackhawk said.

Is it at least as condemnable as Andrew Shaw’s hit on goaltender Mike Smith?

‘‘No comment,’’ Aucoin said.

What’s the deal with that? Why can’t a team acknowledge one of its own might have screwed up?

‘‘Our game is the ultimate team sport — you never want to do anything against your own team,’’ Tippett said. ‘‘You look after your own.’’



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