Former Blackhawks center and current Blackhawks radio analyst Troy Murray previews Game 4 of the Blackhawks-Coyotes first-round playoff series with the Daily Herald's Joe Aguilar.
JA: The Coyotes' Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL, pending an in-person hearing Friday, for his hit on the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa during Tuesday night's game. Should Torres be suspended for a significant length of time?
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TM: There's a lot of criteria the NHL uses in establishing what is a legal or an illegal hit. If you look at some of the criteria that they use, there's going to be a suspension. The NHL wants to discipline the players in the way that they see fit. For Brendan Shanahan (the NHL's senior vice president for player safety), it's been a real busy week. (The NHL) has some real tough decisions to make. It's not my place to comment on what (Torres') intent was. I don't know what he was thinking at the time when he made contact (with Hossa).
JA: The league has handed out seven suspensions in the last week, but the guidelines for determining the suspensions don't seem cut and dry. What's your take?
TM: I'm a little bit confused about what's going on in the NHL right now and the situations that have arisen here in the last little while. A long time ago, the players were in control of the game. There was a line that was drawn in the sand. If you crossed that line, you were going to be held accountable. That accountability in today's game falls in the hands of the disciplinary committee, and I'm not completely in agreement with that.
JA: Do you think the Blackhawks will retaliate in any fashion in Game 4?
TM: I think that they have a rallying point that they can use. They're down 2-1 in the series. They need to get the job done (in Game 4) at the United Center and then make sure that they go into Phoenix with the approach that they have to win one to make it a best-of-three situation. Their focus needs to be turned around and put on the game. The emphasis is winning that hockey game and nothing else.
JA: Assuming Hossa won't play, how do the Blackhawks overcome the loss of one of their best players?
TM: The Blackhawks, down the stretch, without Jonathan Toews, found a way to win consistently. They're going to have to overcome the deficit of Marian Hossa from the lineup. Somebody else is going to have to be put in that position, absorb some of the ice time that Hossa usually takes during a game and step up.
JA: Can that somebody be 19-year-old winger Brandon Saad, who was called up this week after registering 76 points (34 goals) in 44 games for Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League?
TM: You look at what type of player you want to put into the lineup. Is it a 6-foot-6 Jimmy Hayes to bring a big body to the lineup? Or is it more of a skill player that has a little bit more finish to his game. Saad showed in training camp and at the beginning of the season that he's a very good hockey player. He had a tremendous season in the Ontario Hockey League and did extremely well in the postseason. It's not far-fetched to have him in consideration as far as player that would replace Marian Hossa on an offensive line.