Marian Hossa carried off after dirty hit in Hawks' 3-2 loss
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org April 17, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: May 19, 2012 8:23AM
It was as scary as moments get in hockey.
Blackhawks star Marian Hossa was immobilized, lifted onto a stretcher on the ice and then taken away in an ambulance from the United Center to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
A leaping, shoulder-to-face hit from Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres had violently put Hossa on his back, leaving him injured in the first period of Game 3 of the teams’ first-round playoff series Tuesday night.
A rough-and-tumble game got progressively worse for the Hawks, too. The Coyotes erased a one-goal deficit and won 3-2 in overtime as Mikkel Boedker scored with 6:45 remaining. The Coyotes lead the series 2-1.
Michael Frolik and Andrew Brunette scored for the Hawks, while Boedker beat Corey Crawford (31 saves) with a bad-angle shot for the victory.
‘‘It’s frustrating when you lose a player like Hossa and nothing comes of it,’’ Hawks center Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘It’s very disappointing.’’
Hossa was released from the hospital before the game was over and was at home recovering Tuesday night. Team doctor Michael Terry said testing ‘‘yielded encouraging results.’’ There is no timetable for Hossa’s return.
‘‘I think he’s getting better by the minute, so it’s good to know that,’’ Toews said. ‘‘But we don’t expect him back anytime soon. That was a scary thing to go through. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent.’’
For a first-round series that already had taken an ugly, contentious turn, Torres’ hit was by far the worst offense yet. It likely will result in a lengthy suspension.
Hossa didn’t have the puck at the time; Torres was trailing the play. An NHL official said the hit ‘‘went unseen’’ by on-ice officials, and that’s why no penalties were assessed against Torres.
‘‘I saw exactly what happened,’’ Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘It was right in front of me. All four guys missed it. It was hard [to take]. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace.’’
There were concerns heading into Game 3 that the Coyotes might seek revenge for rookie Andrew Shaw’s helmet-to-mask collision with goalie Mike Smith in Game 2, which now pales in comparison to Torres’ blow.
Despite his wild, glove-losing fall to the ice, Smith wasn’t hurt and remained in the game Saturday. Shaw was assessed a major penalty, ejected and later handed a three-game suspension on Tuesday.
Torres is regarded as a head-hunter, and the Hawks are very familiar with him. Exactly a year ago Tuesday, when Torres was with the Vancouver Canucks, he delivered a shoulder-to-head check to a puckless Brent Seabrook in the playoffs, resulting in a concussion. He wasn’t suspended.
That’s why it stings even more for the Hawks.
‘‘We’ve got four [officials] out there,’’ Toews said. ‘‘When there’s a guy getting carried off on a stretcher, you think there might be something wrong with what happened, especially when they’re hovering around their goalie [Smith] in the last game and he keeps playing and our guy [Shaw] gets three games for it. It’s pretty frustrating when you see that.
‘‘It wouldn’t surprise me if [Torres] tried to do something like that again. If nothing happens to him, I can’t see why he won’t try it.’’
There’s no replacing a player such as Hossa.
‘‘It’s hard to see that,’’ Frolik said. ‘‘Hopefully he’s going to be all right. It’s a sad thing to see that. . . . We said in the room, we have to try to play for him.’’