HOCKEY HIT OF THE WEEK — 4-18-12

18Apr12

My apologies for taking a week off from this feature, but I’m sure you’ll agree that I have made up for it with this week’s hit.  Most people have seen this hit by now, but only those that actually watched the game saw it at real time speed, rather than slow motion, which depicts it in a totally different light.

Phoenix Coyote Raffi Torres levels Chicago Blackhawk Marian Hossa during the first period of game three in Chicago.  Unfortunately, Hossa had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, something nobody wants to see happen.  The good news is he was released from the hospital and appears to be okay, although what exactly “okay” means remains to be seen.

Before you watch this video, you need to keep a number of things in mind.

1) The video is with the Coyotes’ broadcasters, so their initial take is that the hit was good solid hockey.

2) These two teams have been beating the daylights out of each other for this entire series, including a viscious hit in game two by Blackhawk Andrew Shaw on Coyote goalie Mike Smith, which resulted in a three game suspension for Shaw.

3) The timing of the hit was VERY legal, as it was less than one second after Hossa passed the puck.

4) No penalty was called by any of the four officials on the ice, which means that in real time, this looked like a legal hit.

5) Only when you watch the replay, in slow motion or real time, does it become apparant that Torres actually left his feet before contact was made, which means that the officials blew the call by not making a call.  There should have been a penalty.

It was extremely difficult to find video that actually showed this hit in real time, since most sites wanted Torres’ head on a platter with an apple in his mouth.  Therefore, they only showed the video in slow motion, which is just lazy reporting.

You must see this in real time first, then watch it over in slow motion to get a true understanding of the event as it happened.

Having said that, I will stick to my guns on what I believe the suspension should be for Torres.  The league announced today that he will be suspended indefinitely.  I think that’s a good start.  I’ve always been an advocate of suspensions for cheap hits to be as long as the injured player is out, at a minimum.

I don’t believe that this was an intentional hit designed to injure, like all of the Chicago based media outlets are saying.  However, I do believe that this was above and beyond what should have occurred.  If Torres had not left his feet as he did, the hit would have been in the chest, which still would have knocked Hossa to the ice, but it would have been completely legitimate and Hossa would have gotten to his feet on his own and skated over to the bench to get his breath back — end of story.

Since Shaw received three games for his attack on Smith, I don’t have any problem at all with Torres getting three games, too.  I could even live with “for the remainder of the first round”.  This might save Torres from getting hurt, as Chicago is bound to go after him every time he steps on the ice.

However, while the suspension, fines, etc. are being handed out, please don’t forget to include Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville for his tirade to the press about how the officiating was a disgrace.  I wonder how Chicago broadcaster Eddie Olczyk, who called for a ten game minimum suspension of Torres, feels about that?

You make your own decision.  Let me know what you think.

Thanks to Midwest Sports Fans for the video.

http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2012/04/video-raffi-torres-hit-on-marian-hossa-cheap-shot-or-clean-hit/

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