2011 NHL Playoffs: Time for the Hawks to Say Enough Is Enough

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2011 NHL Playoffs: Time for the Hawks to Say Enough Is Enough
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Somehow, Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres will not be suspended for the cheap shot he laid on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 3 of the teams' opening 2011 NHL Playoff matchup. 

The NHL has ruled that the hit was not suspension worthy and that Torres will continue to play in this series, insisting an injury to the player being hit is NOT a determining factor in their decisions. 

Clearly they are not abiding by this explanation. 

If Brent Seabrook would have lain on the ice motionless and been taken off on a stretcher, not only would Torres have received a game misconduct, but he would have been suspended for a significant amount of time. But since Seabrook was able to get up and continue, the penalties were all less than they should have been. 

Throughout his seven year career, Torres' playing style has led to claims that he is a dirty player and his cheap shot to a defenseless Seabrook's head when Torres had no intention of ever playing the puck was a clear violation of everything the NHL has been trying to avoid and ban during the concussion era.

 

Shame on you, NHL

... for not suspending Torres, who just laid another guy out in his first game back from a four game suspension. He gave Edmonton Oilers young gun Jordan Eberle the exact same hit a few weeks earlier and received an elbowing penalty on Brian Campbell a few minutes earlier in Game 3. Torres clearly had bad intentions all night. 

If Seabrook was seriously hurt and stayed down, does Torres get a game misconduct?  Do the Hawks score on that ensuing five minute power-play? Do they win the game? Is the entire outlook of the series different?

So many questions and unfortunate consequences for the Blackhawks. They now have to regroup and do the near impossible: win the last four games of the series against the best hockey team on the planet right now.

Can they pull it off? One game at a time. One game at a time.

 

Shame on you, Joel Quenneville

... for not allowing John Scott on the ice after he took the interference penalty early in the second period and for not playing your best line of Toews, Kane, and Sharp the entire time. 

Moving around lines finally has caught up to you. Those three have had amazing chemistry the entire year, dominating the puck when they are out there. Why they were not paired together for every shift of this series is beyond me.

Seabrook's next shift after the hit, he took another hit from Torres and went to the locker room. When Torres went back on the ice, John Scott should have been sent out as well, enforcing and letting the Canucks know where they stand.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I am stunned at the actions of the Blackhawks. They've sent out a memo around the NHL to the other 29 teams, showing them how to beat them: get physical and they will not respond. Keep checking and checking and checking until you have made them play scared enough to cough up pucks all over the defensive zone.

The Hawks need their swagger back. They need their enforcers back. And they need to play as hungry as they were a year ago when the Cup meant everything.

 

Shame on you, Marian Hossa

... for not showing up for the series. Have we heard from you this series? Have you played at all?

Now, I know these are harsh statements, and partially not true, but my frustrations watching him have no impact on the game is at a boiling point. He goes on stretches where he seems like the best player on the planet, but then you do not hear from him for a few weeks. He is in the latter stretch right now, and needs to snap out of it quickly for the Hawks to at least save face. 

As I mentioned before this series started, Hossa will be the key for this offense and Luongo the key for the Canucks.  Bobby Lu has done his part and has his team on the brink of sweeping the defending champs and cruising into the second round.

 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Shame on you, John Scott and Co.

... for not demanding to go out there to stick up for your teammates? How was there no scuffle after Seabrook was laid out?  I think the message should have been sent early in the first period that the Hawks will not stand for any more punishment to their players. Instead, it was the opposite and Vancouver continued to out check them into mistakes.

Chicago's stars have been battered every time they touched the puck. Why was there no on-ice retaliation from any of the Hawks? Is this not the same Blackhawks team who were in a 5-on-5, all-out brawl just three short years ago with the Canucks?

The Blackhawks have lost three players to injuries in this series, all of whom are due to being hit by the Canucks. Tomas Kopecky has not seen the ice since the first period of Game 1, Bryan Bickell has an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained in Game 2 and Brent Seabrook is questionable for Game 4 with repercussions from that Torres cheap shot.

Not one fight, not one dropping of the gloves to protect a player who just received a questionable hit. Sadly, this is how it’s been the entire year.  The Hawks have been out checked all season long. When is this bad habit going to stop?

 

The Torres hit is the least of the Blackhawks' worries going into Game 4 of this best-of-seven series. They have dug themselves a deep hole and have been outplayed in every aspect so far.

They will continue to put their heads down and keep working on the task at hand. They are going to need to get early goals and be able to extend the lead, something they have had plenty of trouble with all year long.

Right now, they are playing against the better team, but the better team does not always win. Last year’s runner-up, the Flyers, stuck to the plan and came back from a 0-3 deficit to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Why not the 2011 Chicago Blackhawks?

 

Follow me on Twitter: @lj3315

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