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updated: 4/19/2011 9:49 PM

Hawks, Seabrook get close-up look at NHL justice

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On the one hand you have the NHL, where a hit to the head is a hit to the head only when it's a hit to the head in a certain area of the ice at a certain point of the game when it involves a certain part of the body for certain players on certain teams at certain times of the year.

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Of course, it takes the NHL nearly 24 hours to make the determination that Raffi Torres doesn't merit suspension for his attempt to decapitate Brent Seabrook, as the goofs in New York use their personal bias and contaminated politics to dole out their 1950s-era, NHL-style equality.

And on the other hand you have the NBA, which needed about 15 minutes and one replay to determine that Kendrick Perkins' tip-in late in the Thunder's win over Denver should have been ruled goaltending.

The league quickly issued a statement, in essence an apology to the Nuggets for a game-changing play.

But in the NHL you have Colin Campbell, a living, breathing punch line for a league that wants to be taken seriously after decades of being a joke.

This is the same Campbell who was caught in an email scandal last year seeking special officiating treatment for his son, who now plays for Boston.

The same Campbell in those emails revealed his dislike for Marc Savard, who basically had his career ended by Matt Cooke's vicious elbow to the head that received -- guess what? -- no suspension.

The only consistency is the utter lack of consistency, and there have been 10 examples just in the last week that completely verify that leaguewide opinion.

And I'm sick as can be of qualifying discussions like this, but I'll do it again.

I love hitting in hockey, and I'm as old school as they come on this issue. I think it's a big part of the game.

The intimidation factor is huge, as witnessed by the way the Canucks have taken apart the Blackhawks physically in this series, forcing their defensemen -- especially Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith -- to turn it over and make poor passes (Keith) or bail on the play completely (Campbell).

I don't want to see hitting go away. In fact, I think the NHL's attempt to turn the game into ballet since the lockout has made players more susceptible to injury because some players don't know how to hit any more, many don't expect it, and others don't prepare to be hit.

As for Raffi Torres, the lack of respect for another man's livelihood and health is stunning. He's not about hitting or intimidation. He's about intent to injure, and his history is proof enough even if you don't watch the games.

Yes, Seabrook had his head down, but he also didn't have the puck. Torres was coming from his blindside. Torres' stick was off the ice. He targeted Seabrook's head. And Torres is a repeat offender who came off a four-game suspension and was on the ice less than two periods when he did it again.

How many different ways does that violate Rule 48?

I guessed eight games. One GM I spoke to Monday thought 10. He couldn't possibly get less than five.

Torres got zero.

In Gary Bettman's corrupt clown college known as the NHL offices in New York, that's justice.

Brent Seabrook

Considering the new head-injury protocol and that he now has had three concussions in 18 months, it's really surprising that the Hawks let Seabrook twice talk them into letting him play again Sunday night.

Bless him for wanting to be there for his team in a crucial Game 3, but he sat out Tuesday and the long-term consequences simply aren't worth the risk.

Haviland leaving?

The hot rumor making the NHL rounds has Hawks assistant coach Mike Haviland joining former Hawks GM Dale Tallon in Florida, though Haviland's name is being mentioned in several places as a head-coaching candidate, including Dallas and New Jersey.

The 43-year-old New Jersey native went 3-1 when Joel Quenneville missed four games in February.

Mr. Clutch

A Sports Illustrated poll of 166 NBA players asked, "Who do you want shooting with the game on the line?"

Kobe Bryant was the overwhelming favorite with 74 percent, followed by Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade at 3 percent, and Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki at 2 percent.

The quote

Pacers coach Frank Vogel: "It's a major commitment to help on (Derrick) Rose all the time. The Bulls have monsters on the glass and you have to account for them, too.''

Down in front

Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "Barry Bonds has been found guilty of obstructing justice. Bonds is also guilty of obstructing moviegoers with his gigantic, steroid-swollen head.''

And finally …

Miami Herald's Greg Cote: "The Canucks seek to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for first the time since 1993. Not sure what should embarrass Canadians more: That drought. Or their inexplicable fascination with curling."

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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