Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

April 2012 Archives

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Here are some of the highlights of Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman's press conference Wednesday during clean-out day at the United Center:

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By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

When the Blackhawks convene for training camp in September, it doesn't appear Andrew Brunette will be among those returning to the team.

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Blackhawks rookie forward Andrew Shaw was hoping and praying that his teammates would give him another chance to play this postseason. With an overtime win in Game 5 in Arizona, they gave it to him.

It's been almost a week since Blackhawks star Marian Hossa was carted off the ice and hospitalized after taking viciously dirty hit in the head from Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres.

Things are just starting to get better.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

Glendale, Ariz. - Asked about goalie Corey Crawford following the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Phoenix Coyotes, Joel Quenneville was succinct.

The Chicago Sun-Times' "3 stars" from Game 5 of the Blackhawks' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes:

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't think twice about starting goalie Corey Crawford in a do-or-die Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes. He just didn't want to announce it a day beforehand.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter
: @BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Raffi Torres' postseason is over.

Torres will miss at least the remainder of the playoffs, and mostly likely several games at the start of next season after he was suspended 25 games by the NHL on Saturday for his vicious headshot on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Blackhawks' first-round series with the Phoenix Coyotes.

If the full suspension is not served by the end of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the remaining games will carry over to next season. It will cost Torres $21,341 in salary for every regular-season game he misses.

The suspension handed down by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan is the longest postseason ban in league history and is tied for the second longest suspension ever in the NHL.

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The Blackhawks will have to wait one more day to see how long Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres is suspended for his leaping, shoulder-to-head hit on Marian Hossa in Game 3.

The NHL said Friday that it will not announce it's decision regarding Torres' suspension until Saturday. Torres had an in-person hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan at noon on Friday at the league's New York offices.

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With a couple of soft goals allowed in overtime, the Blackhawks seemingly have a goalie conundrum on their hands ... again.

The Chicago Sun-Times' "3 stars" from Game 4 of the Blackhawks' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes:

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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was fuming and had every right to be.

Quenneville had just seen his star winger Marian Hossa carried off the ice on a stretcher for an illegal head hit by Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres, and no penalties were called. So he ripped the referees for it.

But now, he's got to pay.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

The Phoenix Coyotes will once again be without forwards Martin Hanzal and Lauri Korpikoski for Game 4 of their first-round series against the Blackhawks.

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Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't have much to say about Marian Hossa's status Thursday before Game 4 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

But Quenneville has spoken with him and plenty of players have exchanged texts with him, so they are somewhat encouraged.

Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely pending his in-person hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Friday in New York for his leaving his feet and hitting Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa in the head in Game 3.

Some Coyotes have said they haven't seen the hit by Torres that sent Hossa to the hospital, while others say they won't comment on it. But, as it always happens in these instances, his teammates and coach have defended him.

Now, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney is on the record, too.

Andrew Shaw made sure to get a good, lungs-burning skate in Wednesday at the United Center, while most of his teammates rested after their third overtime game in a row against the Phoenix Coyotes.

It's all he can do now. Well, that and hope the Hawks can even the series with a win in Game 4 Thursday, so he has a better chance to play this postseason after getting suspended three games.

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Phoenix Coyotes winger Raffi Torres has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL with an in-person disciplinary hearing set for Friday in New York.

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By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

The Phoenix Coyotes offered an interesting study in contrast with regards to headshots the past several days.

From head team doctor Michael Terry:

The Chicago Sun-Times' "3 stars" from Game 3 of the Blackhawks' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes:

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter
: @BMACST

Another Game 3 at the United Center, another maelstrom of controversy surrounding Raffi Torres.

Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett faced the media before Game 3 of his team's first-round series against the Blackhawks. He listed goalie Mike Smith, who was struck in the facemask by Hawks' rookie winger Andrew Shaw in Game 2, as a game-time decision.

Below is a transcript of his Q & A session with reporters:

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The wait is finally over. And Andrew Shaw didn't receive any good news Tuesday afternoon.

The Blackhawks rookie has been suspended three games, starting with Game 3 at the United Center, for his head-to-mask hit on Phoenix Coyotes goalies Mike Smith in Game 2.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
BMACST

Not that the Blackhawks' first-round match up with the Phoenix Coyotes hasn't been without its fair share of chippiness, but it pales in comparison to some of the 5-on-5 brawls going on in some of the other series.

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Blackhawks rookie forward Andrew Shaw was only able to get his helmet off before being surrounded by the media. With his disciplinary hearing for his hit on Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith set for 1 p.m. on Monday, everyone wanted to know his thoughts.

The Chicago Sun-Times' "3 stars" from Game 2 of the Blackhawks' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes:

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw didn't waste any words when talking about his run-in with Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith that resulted in him being ejected.

"I did not try to hit him at all," Shaw said. "I tried getting out of the way. Unfortunately, I did make contact."

Here's the video:

(Video courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - An already physical series was given its first major flash-point in the second period of Game 2 when the Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw appeared to use his shoulder to strike the head Phoenix netminder Mike Smith while the Coyotes' goalie was handling the puck behind his net.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter
: @BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Blackhawks left it to the last momentum again. This time they were able to get the victory.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata, the Phoenix Coyotes' top scorer, will play in Game 2 Saturday at Jobing.com Arena after suffering an upper-body injury in the opener.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Game 1 of the Blackhakws' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes wasn't a fun night for anyone on the team, especially defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Sean O'Donnell.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter
: @BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Phoenix Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata is "day-to-day" with an undisclosed upper-body injury he sustained in the first period of his team's Game 1 win over the Blackhawks.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jonathan Toews expected to be a target, so he wasn't all that surprised that the Phoenix Coyotes gave him a few licks in Game 1 on Thursday.

At times, it looked like the Coyotes made it a point to rough up Toews after whistles and away from plays in his first game back after missing 22 in a row with a concussion.

Although, that shouldn't be a surprise, either.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - With 45 shots in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes, it's not the quantity of shots the Blackhawks are getting that's the problem.

The Chicago Sun-Times' "3 stars" from Game 1 of the Blackhawks' first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes:

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Jonathan Toews made his return to the Blackhawks' lineup in a big way, but Martin Hanzal saw to it wasn't a victorious one with a goal 9:29 into overtime as the Phoenix Coyotes won Game 1 of the teams' first-round playoff series.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Sean O'Donnell has bounced in an out of the lineup this season, but will take up the role of the Blackhawks' sixth defenseman Thursday night for Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal Series against the Phoenix Coyotes.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The wait is over. After almost a two-month layoff, Jonathan Toews will return to the Blackhawks lineup Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

The opponent board in the Phoenix Coyotes locker room said it all.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Things are looking very good for Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. It's now reached a point to where he'll be surprised if he didn't play in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.

By Ben Meyer-Abbott
bmeyer-abbott@suntimes.com
Twitter:
@BMACST

Raffi Torres would prefer to leave his hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook during the playoffs last season in the past.

Here is the Blackhawks' first-round playoff schedule against the Phoenix Coyotes:

DETROIT -- The Blackhawks have said they have liked Ray Emery all season. On Saturday, they showed it.

The Hawks signed Emery to a one-year extension worth a reported $1.15 million. Emery initially signed a one-year, $600,000 deal with the Hawks before this season after being invited to training camp on a tryout offer.

DETROIT -- Blackhawks tough guy Jamal Mayers has been in the NHL a long time, but he experienced a first Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.

He was head-butted.

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DETROIT -- Jonathan Toews needs more time, so he will miss at least one more game and his regular season is over.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith looked anxious and a bit edgy.

A layoff will do that.

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Thanks to a handful of injuries, the Blackhawks' lineup Thursday against the Minnesota Wild will look like this:

Jonathan Toews will miss another game.

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It's up to Jonathan Toews to decide if he's ready.

Not long before Blackhawks rookies Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Bollig and Andrew Shaw all got into fights against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, their former Rockford IceHogs teammates were involved in a much bigger melee.

The IceHogs, the Hawks' American Hockey League affiliate, got into a bench-clearing brawl with the Milwaukee Admirals.

Take a look:

Blackhawks

About the blogger

Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.

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