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Coyotes GM: You’d think Raffi Torres murdered busload of kids

Hawks forward Marian Hossis down ice after suffering hit by Coyotes winger Raffi Torres first period game three first-round Stanley

Hawks forward Marian Hossa is down on the ice after suffering a hit by Coyotes winger Raffi Torres 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: April 19, 2012 5:06PM

Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely pending his in-person hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Friday in New York for his leaving his feet and hitting Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa in the head in Game 3.

Some Coyotes have said they haven’t seen the hit by Torres that sent Hossa to the hospital, while others say they won’t comment on it. But, as it always happens in these instances, his teammates and coach have defended him.

Now, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney is on the record, too.

In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Maloney said that Torres’ hit was a “mistake” and “an error in judgment.” But he also said the negative attention Torres is getting, specifically in Chicago, hasn’t been fair.

“You would think Raffi murdered a busload of children the way he’s portrayed here in Chicago,” Maloney told the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan.

“It’s like, well hold it now. This is a hard-played game. To me, it was part of a hockey play, and I’m not defending. Obviously an offense occurred, but it was not a situation where he took his stick and hit someone in the head. We’re talking about probably two-hundredths of a second it went from being a regular hit to being a little late hit.”

Torres has a long history of similar hits, having been suspended and fined in the past, including earlier this season.

Coach Dave Tippett said earlier Wednesday that there was no malicious intent behind Torres’ hit.

‘’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 [Duncan] Keith’s elbow on [Daniel] Sedin.’’

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