By Tracey Myers in Chicago
Marian Hossa lay prone on the ice as more than 20,000 fans at the United Center screamed in disbelief.
Chicago's post-season nemesis, Raffi Torres, was seemingly at it again. And as much as the Blackhawks would figure that the Phoenix Coyotes forward gets penalized for this hit, pegging any suspension at this rate is uncertain.
Torres hit Hossa high, sending the Blackhawks right wing to the hospital for a little while as the Coyotes came back to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.
For the Coyotes, it was a big victory.
For the Blackhawks, a big loss. Make that two big losses, potentially.
Hossa did undergo some tests at a local hospital before being released and the Blackhawks said in a statement that they expect him to make a full recovery.
But immediately after the game, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was simmering -- angry that, not only was Hossa hurt, but that no penalty was called on Torres.
"It was a brutal hit," Quenneville said. "You can have a multiple choice question, it's 'All The Above.'"
"I saw exactly what happened. It was right in front of me.
"How four guys [officials] missed it tonight it was hard. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace."
Torres and the Blackhawks are no strangers to one another. It was a year ago to the day that Torres, then with the Vancouver Canucks, got a high hit on defenceman Brent Seabrook in Game 3 of their first-round series. Torres did not get suspended or fined for that hit. On Tuesday, Torres told reporters that the hit on Hossa was "a hockey play." As this series began, he said the same about the hit on Seabrook.
"Anytime you see a teammate and a good friend, someone you've had good experiences with, it's tough to see him lying on the ice like that," Seabrook said of Hossa.
As for Torres, Seabrook said: "I'm not going to touch on that."
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said: "I haven't looked at it yet on video. It looked to me like he was finishing his check, but I haven't looked at it in-depth yet."
As far as possible discipline with Torres, Tippett said: "We won't go there yet. Before we lose him, let's really lose him.
"I worry about the things I can control right now. And that's not one of them."
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was also frustrated at events.
"We've got four guys out there," he said. "When there's a guy getting carried off on a stretcher, you think that there might be something wrong with what happened.
"Especially when they're huddling around their goalie [Mike Smith] in this last game and he keeps playing and our guy [Andrew Shaw] gets [suspended] three games for it. So it's pretty frustrating when you see that.
"It's why it was frustrating that [Torres] got to stay in the game because it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to do something like that again. If nothing happens to him, I don't see why he won't try it."
Wasn't this supposed to be a non-rival series? One with no past and no angst?
Yes, the hockey between these two teams has been good. Great, actually. Three games, all of which went to overtime. But in the last two games, ugly hits -- in the eyes of those hit, at least -- have left a cloud over an entertaining series.
And it's left Hossa's status uncertain.
"I think he's getting better by the minute, so it's good to see that," Toews said. "[But] we don't expect him back any time soon.
"That's a scary thing to go through."
Tracey Myers reports for Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @TramyersCSN
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