As maddeningly inconsistent and unpredictable as NHL disciplinary czar Brendan Shanahan can be, he's not going to let Raffi Torres' hit on Marian Hossa last night go unpunished.
News broke a short time ago that Torres will be suspended indefinitely after the Coyotes forward sent Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa to the hospital with this hit in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. That means Torres is definitely out for Game 4 tomorrow, and likely for a lot longer. We'll find out sometime after his in-person hearing with Shanahan Friday.
Some Blackhawks fans are probably pleased that justice is being served. I don't consider this justice. At the very most, the Blackhawks will play four more games with the Coyotes, and Torres won't be allowed to play in any of them. They'll dodge a player who compiled 26 points and a plus-2 rating in 79 games this season. Big whoop. The only real tangible benefit of a Torres absence is that it decreases the chances of the Blackhawks' other players being cheap-shotted to a local hospital.
Justice for a hit described by noted hockey authority Bob McKenzie as "illegal on so many levels" should have resulted in Torres immediately being removed from the game and in a five-minute major penatly being assessed. I'd certainly take nothing for granted with this Blackhawks power play, but there's a good chance they'd have scored a goal given five minutes with a man advantage (or three minutes, if Brandon Bollig had still been assessed a minor penalty). They could have scored twice. Michael Frolik's third-period goal could have been the Blackhawks' third or fourth, and Ray Whitney's goal seconds later could have only dented a larger Blackhawks lead instead of tying the game. The point is, the Blackhawks could have done something with the major penalty that would have made a difference in a pivotal game the Coyotes went on to win 3-2 in overtime.
We'll never know what the Blackhawks would have done, or how the game would have played out afterward, because Torres wasn't penalized last night. Bollig was the only one who went to the penalty box after Torres left his feet to hit Hossa in the head. Now I don't want to make this an excuse for a tough Blackhawks loss — if Corey Crawford doesn't let in a ridiculously soft goal to Mikkel Boedkerin overtime, they might still be playing — but my point is, there will be no justice for this hit. The Blackhawks were hurt, both by losing an important player and by being denied a deserved penalty, because a guy as famous as anyone in the NHL for playing dirty did something stupid and illegal.