UNTIL WE'RE FINALLY CRUSHED: Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)
Maybe Brendan Shanahan does deserve a little slack. Not that he's doing all the right things but his job is impossible and the players aren't making it easier for him. Raffi Torres leapt into Marian Hossa's chin tonight and sent him to the hospital and didn't get penalized. He might be suspended based on this hit and his history but more importantly, we're all glad that Hossa appears to not be in any serious danger. He probably won't be playing hockey again until next fall, though. That's just a guess on my part but we might as well be prepared to face life without Marian Hossa.
Just how long that will be depends on how badly the Blackhawks want it. It looked to me like they were a team that got beaten on a lot of the bigger face-offs late in the game as well as beaten to the puck along the boards in both zones. Coming off the Andrew Shaw/Mike Smith fiasco and the hit on Hossa which was early in the game, one would think that would serve as motivation enough. Apparently they only thing that can motivate these guys is themselves. Then again it's entirely possible that they just aren't good enough. On to the things.
THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY:
Can't really think of anything right now other than Seabrook's shot block. Let's face it, I do these immediately after the game and this particular game caused a visceral reaction in many of the people who spend many of their days watching the Blackhawks play hockey. You get to know these guys, not personally mind you, but you know enough about them to care when something of note happens. Seeing a guy who commands the respect that Marian Hossa does laid out and being stabilized in front of a stretcher is really the only thing I can picture at this moment.
Now people will begin to argue over whether the hit was dirty or not. Of course every Blackhawks fan thinks it was dirty. And I'm sure there are Coyotes fans that think it was fairly clean and simply an unfortunate result that Hossa was hurt. It's unfortunate that it's come to this. We don't know if Torres will be disciplined. He wasn't disciplined on the ice. After Hossa left the game, the Hawks actually ended up on the penalty kill as Brandon Bollig was reprimanded for going after Torres. So the Hawks, in a short moment, lost possibly their most talented player and had to kill a penalty for it.
Based on this it seems unfair that they would end up losing the game in overtime but fair has nothing to do with it. There were still two plus periods of hockey left to be played after the hit and most of it was played just like most of the first two games: sloppily. While Corey Crawford was good enough to win the game he wasn't good enough on the game winning goal, which was flung in from a terrible angle by Mikkel Boedker with about six and a half minutes left in overtime.
So let the debate rage. After tonight I want no part in it. It's clear the league has its uses for guys like Raffi Torres and he'll probably get a game or three. Next year he'll hit someone else with an elbow or an enziguri. And we'll go through this again and again. Good luck to the Hawks from here. If they plan on playing like this and now without Marian Hossa, they're going to need it.