Blackhawks hope 25-game susension to Torres sends message
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes didn't have much to say about the 25-game suspension the NHL dished out to Raffi Torres on Saturday.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, had plenty to say about Torres' blast which knocked their teammate Marian Hossa out of Game 3, perhaps for the rest of the playoffs, and who knows for how long after that?
"He's going to have to live with that," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said of Torres. "I'm sure a lofty suspension like that would make any player kind of rethink their actions.
"Maybe he doesn't think it was such a normal hockey play anymore."
Phoenix captain Shane Doan out and out refused to comment at all on the suspension after Saturday's morning skate, while Coyotes coach Dave Tippett mustered only this: "The league has made its decision and there's nothing we can do about it now. We deal with it as a club and Raffi has to deal with it, but our focus is solely on what we have to do (Saturday)."
For veteran Hawks forward Brendan Morrison, though, the hope is the lengthy suspension will serve as a deterrent to future hits to the head ... but you never know.
"I think it's a precedent," Morrison said. "We've been talking about it for so long over the course of the last couple of years and there have been more suspensions (lately), but the message isn't getting through to guys.
"I don't know how it can't get through after this."
After missing the first 15 minutes of Saturday's morning skate, Torres hopped on the ice with his teammates, but was not made available to reporters.
Later in the day, Torres issued a statement.
"My main concern is for the healthy recovery of Marian Hossa, and I hope that he will be able to get back on the ice to compete again soon," he said. "I sincerely regret injuring Marian. Regarding the severity of the suspension issued, I will take the next few days to decide whether or not to appeal the decision."
For the Hawks' Morrison, the solution is quite basic.
"At the end of the day this is on the players to have respect for each other," he said. "The respect factor in the league has diminished severely over the past few seasons.
"Maybe the only way to put an end to it is to get after guys like this."
Phoenix captain Shane Doan was borderline stunned to hear that the Hawks were even considering replacing goalie Corey Crawford for Game 5 following back-to-back overtime losses.
"Crawford has played phenomenal for them; made some huge saves for them," Doan said. "When they made their big pushes, we've had some good opportunities and he's made some big saves to keep them in it so they could score those goals late to tie it up."
Crawford, who took the last two losses hard, appreciated coach Joel Quenneville sticking with him.
"It feels nice to have the coach come back with you after two tough ones like that," Crawford said. "I'm not thinking about them. The first shot right now is what's on my mind."
The last time the Coyotes were up 3-1 in a playoff series was 1999 when Joel Quenneville's St. Louis Blues came back and took Game 7 in overtime. ... Jimmy Hayes made his first playoff appearance Saturday. Brandon Bollig was a healthy scratch. ... The Coyotes outhit the Hawks 17-5 in the first period. ... Viktor Stalberg was whistled for 3 penatlies through the first two periods.
He said it:
"It's by far the hardest game to win. A testament to that is I've never done it."
-- Phoenix captain Shane Doan on winning a fourth and clinching playoff game.