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Blackhawk Ben Smith’s status unkown after taking illegal hit

Blackhawk forward Marian Hosswears number 38 his skates memory former Blackhawk Pavol Demitras Chicago Blackhawks host Detroit Redwings Wednesday September

Blackhawk forward Marian Hossa wears the number 38 on his skates in memory of former Blackhawk Pavol Demitra as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Detroit Redwings Wednesday September 28, 2011 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 11, 2011 5:16PM



It looked downright nasty.

Five minutes into the third period of the exhibition game against the Detroit Red Wings, defenseman Brendan Smith hit Blackhawks forward Ben Smith in the head with his shoulder as Smith raced toward the goal.

Ben Smith crumbled to the ice, where he lay face down for several minutes. A scuffle ensued, and Brendan Smith was ejected for exactly the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate

“Both referees said that’s a classic example of what we’re talking about. That’s the illegal hit,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was pretty black and white. I’m not happy about it.”

Smith’s status is unknown, but he likely will undergo more concussion tests Thursday. To make matters worse, winger Viktor Stalberg left the game with a leg injury, which Quenneville characterized as “probably not good, either.”

“That’s just a hit you have to get rid of,” Patrick Kane said. “Hopefully, he’s OK. I’m not sure what his status is, but hopefully that’s a big suspension. The league’s got to take care of that hit.”

It’s a very tough break for Ben Smith, who scored the tying goal Wednesday and was on the path of securing a roster spot.

“It’s just scary to see a guy go down like that,” Jonathan Toews said. “If it was a cheap hit, hopefully they take care of that the right way. It’s unbelievable. They’re cracking down, and it’s still happening.”

Hossa honors Demitra

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa has former NHL forward and close friend Pavol Demitra’s No. 38 on his skates. Demitra, a fellow Slovak, died in the plane crash that claimed the lives of Russian pro team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl earlier this month.

“Pavol was a close friend of mine,” Hossa said. “It’s something I want to do at least through the preseason and maybe a couple of games in the regular season.”



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