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Even without Raffi Torres, Blackhawks-Coyotes could have fireworks

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TONIGHT

HAWKS AT COYOTES

The facts: 9, CSN, 720-AM.

Updated: February 21, 2013 6:58AM



LOS ANGELES — When the Blackhawks face Phoenix on Sunday night in Glendale, Ariz., Coyotes forward Raffi Torres won’t be on the ice. He’ll still have seven games left on the 25-game suspension he received for leaving his feet and giving Hawks winger Marian Hossa a concussion during last spring’s first-round playoff series.

So the next time these teams meet, back in Glendale on Feb. 7, ought to be awfully interesting.

As for Sunday’s game?

“I don’t know; we’ll see what happens,” Hawks winger Patrick Kane said. “I don’t think Torres is playing, so we’ll see what happens. I’m sure when he’s back, you’ll probably see a little fireworks. But we’ll see [Sunday].”

Even without Torres, there should be plenty of intensity in a rematch of last season’s six-game series — the first five of which went to overtime.

“Anytime you play a team in the playoffs, especially when they beat you, you’re going to want revenge,” Kane said. “If you play a team in a seven-game series, there’s always going to be a rivalry that starts there, so it’ll be nice to get back at them.”

Hossa said he’s treating the Coyotes game the same as any other game, even though his season ended against them in Game 3 at the United Center. Hossa wasn’t cleared until mid-November after the April 17 shoulder-to-head hit.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t really think about it,” Hossa said. “For me, it’s going to be just another game. I don’t know what to expect, but, like I said, I’m going to prepare like usual and try to play my game. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Even the second meeting, with Torres back, is unlikely to devolve into a fight-filled debacle. Torres undoubtedly will be engaged by somebody in a Hawks uniform, but with so much at stake in every game in such a short season, teams are unlikely to take vengeance too far. So expect a rivalry, not an outright bloodbath.

“We’re not going to be out for any kind of [vengeance],” veteran Jamal Mayers said. “Our focus is going to be on two points, particularly in a shortened season. That’s got to be our main objective every night.”



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