The NHL suspended the Vancouver Canucks' Jannik Hansen for one game Wednesday for his hit against the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa in Tuesday's 4-3 Hawks shootout victory at the United Center.
Early in the third period, Hansen reached up and hit Hossa on the back of the head with his forearm or elbow, putting Hossa out of the game.
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Hansen, who received a two-minute roughing penalty, will miss tonight's game at Dallas.
There was special concern by the Hawks for Hossa, who was knocked out of the playoffs last spring with a concussion after he was leveled by a vicious hit from Phoenix' Raffi Torres.
The Hawks and Canucks have one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL, and it's not surprising they saw things differently.
"That's ugly and very unfortunate," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. "You never want to see that. I don't know the situation yet, but we hope that it's just a minor scare for now and that he'll be back soon. I saw it when the puck was up. I saw the replay on the board, and it's pretty evident that he wasn't reaching for the puck or anything."
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he didn't think Hansen's hit warranted any penalty.
"Both referees looked at the play, and until Toews went out to talk to them, it wasn't even a penalty," said Vigneault, who added there was "not a chance" Hansen should be disciplined. "He is trying to grab a puck in the air. If the young man is hurt, it is unfortunate, but he was trying to jump to get the puck. Stuff happens."
Hansen had this to say, as reported by the Vancouver Sun: "We are both kind of jumping for it, and he grabs the puck first and I'm coming down and I kind of land on him a little bit, and apparently I hit him in the back of the head is what the ref is telling me. It's hard for me to tell what really happened."
The Blackhawks did not practice Wednesday. They may update Hossa's status today.
The Blackhawks will try to set an NHL record for games with points to start a season when they host San Jose Friday.
The Hawks' record is 13-0-3, and that tied Anaheim's record for points in 16 straight games. The Ducks did it to start the 2006-07 season.
"It's a great start, but that's all is -- a start," said Hawks goaltender Ray Emery, who started for the third straight game in place of Corey Crawford, who is out with an upper-body injury. "You want to see it at the end of the year. That's when it counts. We can build off it. We've got that feather in our cap, but we can't dwell on it. We've just got to focus every night."
How Swede it is:
While defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya each earned a minus-1 in Tuesday's game, the pair has been solid overall as the second back-line combination. Oduya was asked why the two have worked well together.
"I don't know; we're Swedish," he said with a smile. "We're pretty good skaters. We know what to expect, how things are going to work. He's a great hockey player. He makes things very easy out there. Hopefully I can do the same thing for him."
Oduya was asked if he and Hjalmarsson speak Swedish with each other on the ice. He said that would not have worked Tuesday because the Canucks featured Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are from Sweden.
"It'll be English just because we want the other guys on the ice to know what's going on," Oduya said. "There will be times (when they communicate in Swedish). Mostly English."