Marian Hossa Injury: Ugly Incident Must Be Final Straw in Dirty NHL Playoffs

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks lays on the ice following a collison with Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 17, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Coyotes defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Enough is enough.

The dirty plays, illegal hits and head-hunting in the NFL playoffs need to stop. It's gone too far. The game can be physical and aggressive without being out of control

And thus far, a lot of players have been out of control.

But now, the NHL needs to put its foot down. After Phoenix Coyote Raffi Torres put a vicious hit on the Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa, the time is now to set a precedent for the rest of the playoffs.

With Torres suspended indefinitely until his hearing on Friday, the NHL looks primed to do just that.

This incident must be the final straw for a number of reasons, and Torres absolutely should be made an example of. Here's why:

  • The hit was dirty, as Torres left his feet and drove his shoulder into Hossa's chin—and Hossa didn't have the puck. Dirty play, no two ways about it.
  • Torres has a past history as a goon.
  • Hossa is a great player, and his absence seriously hurts the Blackhawks for Game 4.
  • Hossa had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, a scary image. With that image being shown all over highlight shows, even non-hockey fans are aware of it. It's bad publicity for the NHL, plain and simple.
  • Suspensions have become the main story in these NHL playoffs, and until someone is severely punished, players aren't going to change the way they play. It's time to take a stand.

This is the perfect storm for the NHL to levy a huge suspension. They have every incentive to sit Torres down for somewhere in the vicinity of 10 games, which could potentially carry into next season.

The league needs to send a loud and clear message here—head-hunting and dangerous hits are not going to be tolerated. Injuries may happen, but let them happen on good, clean hits, and not the trash we've seen by players like Torres, Arron Asham and Byron Bitz.

All eyes turn to Brendan Shanahan. Will he answer the call or will he continue to facilitate the ugly play we've seen this postseason?

I sure hope it's the former.


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