Phoenix goalie Mike Smith watches as Hawks forward Marian Hossa is wheeled off the ice on a stretcher 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
Updated: May 22, 2012 8:10AM
One by one, the Blackhawks boarded their chartered plane for Arizona on Friday. Marian Hossa wasn’t one of them.
Meanwhile at the exact same time in New York, Coyotes forward Raffi Torres was having his hearing with the NHL and disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his hit on Hossa.
The Hawks know Hossa won’t play in his second consecutive game Saturday in Game 5 at Jobing.com Arena. But they had to wait one more day to learn how much longer Torres will be suspended.
Shanahan will announce Saturday “whether the NHL Department of Player Safety will assess further supplemental discipline” against Torres, who was suspended indefinitely Wednesday for his hit in Game 3.
“He’s the same,” Quenneville said of Hossa’s status.
Dave Bolland and Jonathan Toews have said they hope the league makes a strong statement with a stiff suspension for Torres, who has been suspended twice and fined once in his career for head hits.
“The suspensions and plays are tough jobs for the [league] to decide on the punishment,” said defenseman Duncan Keith, who was suspended five games this season for elbowing Canucks winger Daniel Sedin in the head. “I’ve always respected what they’ve done. We have confidence that they’ll do a good job.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting that he could not comment on Torres while his case is pending. But when asked about Torres’ hit, Bettman allowed that “most people who have observed it are suggesting they think it should’ve been a penalty.”
Bettman said that physical play during the playoffs has been consistent with past years, but he said the league is trying to change the culture of the game. He noted that shoulder-to-head hits such as the one Torres delivered against Hossa wouldn’t have been penalties in previous years. The NHL changed its rules before the season to eliminate all hits to the head.
“We’re punishing things in order to protect the players that in previous seasons weren’t penalties,” Bett-man said. “For example, a shoulder hit to the head in the old days was not a penalty. Now it is.”
Bettman expressed confidence in Shanahan’s judgment, saying he was doing a “very, very good job.” Shanahan has been criticized for a perceived lack of consistency when issuing suspensions.
“Not only are clubs disagreeing and fans in their passion disagreeing — even the media is engaging in the debate,” Bettman said. “I have confidence in the people who are doing it even though they’re under intense scrutiny and criticism from both sides.”
Contributing: Eric White