Toews on Torres’ hit: That’s not hockey to me

The more Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews thinks about the hit Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres laid on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, the more he shakes his head.

“That’s obviously the way he thinks,” Toews said of Torres, who a year ago knocked Brent Seabrook out for two games in the playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks.

“I’ve said it before, and it’s the same thing with Vancouver last year — that was a hockey play, too. No remorse at all.

“I don’t think with a guy like that when you pretty much take him out and have a guy carried off on a stretcher and he doesn’t probably feel bad about it at all. So that’s not hockey to me.”

It appears Torres won’t be playing any type of hockey at all for a while after the league announced Wednesday that he has been suspended indefinitely pending an in-person hearing Friday in New York.

“It sounds like they are going down the right road,” Toews said. “So, sounds like a good start.”

Torres leveled Hossa midway through the first period of Tuesday’s game, a blow so vicious that Hossa had to be immobilized before being carted off the ice on a stretcher and sent to the hospital for observation.

The intent of the hit was defended by Coyotes coach Dave Tippett after the game … and Wednesday as well.

“I don’t think there was any malicious intent on Raffi’s part,” Tippett said. “He’s a hard hitter; that’s the way he plays the game. He turned, coming full speed, and caught a guy right in the chest. Unfortunately, the player was injured.

“But … I don’t think there was a malicious intent like you see some of the cross-checks to the face or you saw (Duncan) Keith’s elbow a few weeks ago on (Daniel) Sedin.”

The Hawks couldn’t disagree more.

“It was a brutal hit,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game.

“I thought it was a bad hit,” Patrick Sharp said. “I guess it doesn’t really matter what my opinion is. I don’t call the penalties, and I don’t rule on the suspensions.”

But do you think Torres’ indefinite suspension is fair?

“Yeah, I do,” Sharp said.

Hossa left the hospital late Tuesday, but his prognosis for a return is still sketchy. But one thing’s for sure: He’s not playing Thursday.

“I’m going to rule him out (for Game 4),” Quenneville said Wednesday morning.

Veteran Coyotes forward Ray Whitney said after practice Wednesday that the team wasn’t going to talk about the issue specifically. But then he was asked if he was concerned with what he was seeing on the ice during the playoffs.

“Not really,” Whitney said. “I guess because I’ve been through this stuff before when it wasn’t as taboo as it is now.

“You can ask some of the guys who’ve played in the past; their wars were a lot meaner than this. There were 5-on-5 fights. They probably think we’re a bunch of babies now.”

The hit was just another in a leaguewide series of big blows during the playoffs — a trend that concerns Toews, who missed 22 games at the end of the regular season while recovering from a concussion.

“I don’t really know,” Toews said. “It’s still the team that wins the hockey game is the team that scores the most goals, not who gets the most penalty minutes or most suspensions. So I really don’t know what the motivation is.

“Like I said, the way we’re going to get even is we go out there and win (Thursday) and play our game and we stick to our plan. Getting into all that garbage isn’t going to get us anywhere in this series.”

But it doesn’t sound like Whitney and the Coyotes have any plans to settle down.

“It’s a competitive factor, I think, more than anything,” he said. “We’re not out there with sedatives in us right now. We’re out there with a lot of hostility, a lot of energy. We’re playing on the edge — everybody is — at all times.

“Sometimes in a game, with as passionate as it is right now, you’re right there on the edge. At any time somebody could get hurt and somebody’s probably going to get hurt, and it’s not going to be the last one.

“We certainly don’t want the best players in this league getting injured. That’s not the intent. But there’s a certain way you have to play in the playoffs, and finishing your checks is one of them.

“It’s just kind of the nastiness that goes along with being in the playoffs.”

Several Blackhawks, including Toews, were in contact via text with Hossa on Wednesday morning and were pleased to see No. 81 text back.

“A lot of the guys texted him this morning and I got a text back and I think that’s a good thing he’s texting all the boys back, so he’s probably busy with his phone right now,” Toews said.

“Don’t want to keep him too busy; want him to rest and relax. It sounds like he’s getting better as the day goes on. Hopefully we can go check on him soon.”

Until then, the Captain and Co. have one mission: tie the series 2-2 and do it for their fallen teammate.

“We want to go play harder for him tomorrow night and try to get him a win and make him feel like that all is not lost,” Toews said.

No rhyme or reason to suspensions

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