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Coyotes’ Raffi Torres suspended indefinitely

- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) - Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres was suspended indefinitely Wednesday for a hit that knocked Chicago's Marian Hossa out of Game 3 in the teams' opening-round playoff series.

Torres faces a Friday hearing with NHL officials in New York. The hearing was planned for Wednesday but was deferred at the request of the player and NHL Players' Association.

Hossa was carried off the ice on a stretcher in the first period Tuesday night after Torres hit him with his shoulder and drove him to the ice. He was briefly hospitalized.

The team has not said if Hossa, who led the Blackhawks with 77 points this season, will return this season.

Phoenix leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 in Chicago on Thursday night.

Torres, who had run-ins with the Blackhawks previously while with Vancouver, wasn't penalized for the play. Last season, in Game 3 of the first-round series, Torres delivered a hard hit to Brent Seabrook.

"It's tough. You saw the hit," Chicago's Patrick Kane said between periods of the game. "It's just tough you don't get a power play out of it. Hossa's a big part of our team so someone's going to have to step up and fill the void."

Hossa was near the boards at center ice and had just turned and passed the puck when Torres left his skates and delivered the hit. Hossa was down for about five minutes after medical personnel rushed to his side, the United Center crowd silent while they assessed the veteran player.

The Blackhawks said Hossa was expected to recover completely, without disclosing details of any possible injuries or problems.

"After initial evaluation on the ice, (Hossa) was taken by ambulance to the hospital for further testing, which yielded encouraging results," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. "He has been released from the hospital and we are monitoring him closely at home."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was unhappy that Torres was not penalized.

"It was a brutal hit," Quenneville said after the game. "I saw exactly what happened. It was right in front of me. How four guys missed it was hard. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace."

Seconds after the hit, Chicago's Brandon Bolig was given a 10-minute misconduct for roughing.

"Of course we're angry. It's a natural reaction for anybody," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "Everyone loves Hoss, respects him and loves him as a teammate. ... We wanted to win that game for him tonight, but came up short. We've got to focus on getting the next one for him."

Asked if he was concerned about coming off his skates to make the hit, Torres said: "I'm not going to answer that.

"I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there," he said.

The series has been rugged. Chicago forward Andrew Shaw was suspended for three games Tuesday after he ran into Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in Game 2.

Smith was playing the puck behind the net when Shaw skated in and caught the goalie in the head with his shoulder, knocking him to the ice. Shaw was ejected, but Smith got up after about five minutes and stayed in the game. He was in net for Tuesday night's overtime win.

NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said Shaw's contact with Smith wasn't incidental and that the rookie didn't make a reasonable effort to avoid Smith.

"It is a forceful blow delivered by Shaw's shoulder to Smith's chin," Shanahan said. "This is not a case of a skater and goaltender colliding while pursuing a loose puck. Shaw skated a considerable distance and hits the head of the stationary goaltender who has possession of the puck."

Shaw would be eligible to return for a Game 6 if the series goes that far.

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