Over the years, violence has always been part of the culture of hockey. This is a culture that is quite hard to change especially with how intense the game is. The first round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs has already been marked with mayhem, with another one adding to the list. Owners of Chicago Blackhawkstickets were treated on the team’s first home playoff game this season with a scene that would be hard to forget.
Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks’ point leader during the regular season, left the United Center and the thousands of Chicago Blackhawks tickets owners on a stretcher after he was hit hard during the first period of their First Round series against the Phoenix Coyotes. Tied at one apiece heading into Game 3, an intense game was expected from the two teams but none expected the scenario that happened.
On that play, the 33-year-old Hossa was near the boards at the center of the ice. He had just turned and passed the puck when Phoenix’s Raffi Torres delivered a big blow to the 13-year veteran. Torres delivered a late shot using his shoulder which directly hit Hossa’s face. It knocked the one-time champion to the ice and was down for about five minutes before medical personnel inside the arena rushed to the scene. After the medics arrived, Hossa was carted off the ice, with his neck stabilized and body supine. Hossa was rushed immediately to Northwestern Memorial Hospital but was discharged shortly. According to members of the team, the test results were very encouraging. The team also reported that Hossa is already being monitored in his home.
Torres was not penalized for the hit he just gave to Hossa. He has already been in numerous run-ins with Chicago, when he was still with the Vancouver Canucks. The most recent one before this season was during the post season last year. Ironically, it also happened in Game 3 of a first round series.
The injury of Hossa proved to be a big blow during the game for Chicago when they lost in overtime, 2-3. After stealing the home court advantage against Phoenix in Game 2, the momentum was really on the side of Chicago. A win in Game 3 could have given them with a 2-1 lead and a win in Game 4 could have given them a big 3-1 lead. With that loss, Chicago is back to the drawing board to at least tie the series at two apiece.
Hossa’s absence for most of the game made the Chicago lineup even more depleted as it was already missing the services of the suspended Andrew Shaw. He was suspended for at least three games after he hit Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in the face in Game 2. After Shaw barreled into Smith in the second period, he was assessed with a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. If Coyotes wins the next two games, Shaw’s appearance in Game 2 would be his last this season.
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