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Raffi Torres at center of another controversy

Hawks winger Michael Frolik scores third period give Blackhawks short-lived 2-1 lead. Phoenix scored first overtime defeBlackhawks 3-2 game three

Hawks winger Michael Frolik scores in the third period to give the Blackhawks a short-lived 2-1 lead. Phoenix scored in the first overtime to defeat the Blackhawks 3-2 in 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 19, 2012 8:22AM



Exactly a year to the day after giving Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook a concussion with a head shot as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, the Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffi Torres was involved in another controversial hit Tuesday in Game 3 at the United Center.

Hawks winger Marian Hossa was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to the hospital after a shoulder-to-head hit by Torres midway through the first period of the Coyotes’ 3-2 overtime victory.

‘‘First off, I hope he’s all right,’’ Torres said afterward. ‘‘But as far as the hit goes, I just felt like it was a hockey play. Just trying to finish my hit out there.’’

Asked if he was concerned that he appeared to leave his skates on the hit, Torres said, ‘‘I’m not going to answer that,’’ before ending the interview when asked if he was worried about being suspended.

Other Coyotes were reluctant to categorize Torres’ hit negatively.

‘‘I didn’t see it,’’ captain Shane Doan said. ‘‘I haven’t seen it, but from what I was told, it wasn’t that bad. . . . From the players on the bench, [they] said it was a clean hit.’’

Regardless, all the Coyotes who spoke with the media after the game expressed their concern about seeing a player taken off the ice on a stretcher.

‘‘You feel awful for them,’’ Doan said. ‘‘You don’t want to see anyone carted off
the ice.’’

Smith returns

Listed as a game-time decision before the game, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (35 saves) spoke with the media for the first time about Hawks rookie Andrew Shaw’s three-game suspension for hitting him behind the net in
Game 2.

‘‘That’s up to the league, so obviously they took it into their hands,’’ Smith said. ‘‘You know, obviously you can’t hit the goalie. They’re cutting down on that kind of stuff. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.’’

What about the suggestion that he might have embellished the hit?

‘‘I don’t really have a comment on it,’’ Smith said.

Frolik ends drought

Hawks winger Michael Frolik, who replaced Shaw in the lineup, scored his first goal since Dec. 15 when he punched a rebound past Smith 8:49 into the third period. He hadn’t scored in 34 games.



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