The latest egregious act — and the worst of the bunch — came Tuesday when the Coyotes' Raffi Torres left his skates and delivered a late shot with his shoulder to the head of the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa and Hossa was taken off the ice on a stretcher to a Chicago hospital.
Torres was not penalized for the first-period hit in Phoenix's 3-2 overtime win in Game 3 of their Western Conference series.
"Brutal hit," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said during the game on CNBC. "Can't believe four (officials) missed it. Makes me sick. … Can't believe it."
Hossa left the hospital under his own power. He did not respond when a reporter asked how he was doing. The team said it expected him to recover from his upper-body injury.
The 16 teams had totaled 804 penalty minutes through the first 22 games, Stats LLC said. Entering Tuesday there had been 11 game misconducts. With four suspensions handed down Tuesday, eight players had received bans ranging from one to four games, and two players had been fined, including Predators All-Star defenseman Shea Weber for slamming the head of Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg into the glass.
Seven players were suspended in all of last season's playoffs.
The latest suspensions: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, three games for a hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in Game 2 Saturday; Penguins All-Star wing James Neal one game and wing Arron Asham four games for hits in Sunday's Game 3 against the Flyers; and Capitals All-Star center Nicklas Backstrom one game for a cross-check to the Bruins' Rich Peverley in the waning seconds of their Game 3 on Monday.
Some believe much of this could have been averted if NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan had taken a hard line with Weber, whose head-slamming Thursday, the playoffs' second day, got him only a $2,500 fine, the most allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.
"I think the league had a pretty good opportunity to set the bar, and I guess they did," Zetterberg said. Agreeing before Tuesday's events was Chicago captain Jonathan Toews: "In a situation like that with Weber, … you should make an example of it, regardless of whether he's a star player. (The league has) been trying to make an example of things like that so they don't happen again, and all of a sudden you let one slide like that. Everyone must feel like they're back to Square One. So it is frustrating."
Others have a different view.
"I just think it's a bunch of guys having a good time," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "It looks like fun to me."
Said Coyotes captain Shane Doan before Tuesday's game, "It's playoff hockey. It just is."
panthers 4, devils 3: Florida rallied from a 3-0 deficit racked up in the first 6:16 to take a 2-1 series lead.
predators 3, wings 1: Kevin Klein scored the go-ahead goal 6:25 into the third as Nashville took a 3-1 series lead.
playoff news: Ottawa likely will be without concussed captain Daniel Alfredsson tonight in Game 4 against the Rangers. He was elbowed in the head in Game 2 by New York's Carl Hagelin, who was suspended for three games. Alfredsson missed Game 3.
First Period—1, Chi, Brunette 1 (Kane, Leddy), 19:31. Penalties—Bollig, Chi (roughing), 3:23; Bollig, Chi, served by Brunette, minor-misconduct (roughing), 11:51.
Second —None. Penalties—Klesla, Pho (high-sticking), 1:28; Torres, Pho (trip), 5:43; Morris, Pho (cross-check), 18:52; J.Toews, Chi (roughing), 20:00.
Third—2, Pho, Klesla 1 (Boedker, Gordon), 8:16. 3, Chi, Frolik 1 (Seabrook, Bolland), 8:49. 4, Pho, Whitney 1 (Klesla, Langkow), 9:21. Penalties—Doan, Pho (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:46; Hjalmarsson, Chi (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:46. First Overtime—5, Pho, Boedker 1 (Pyatt, Klesla), 13:15. Penalties—None. Shots—Pho 16-6-10-2—34. Chi 10-10-11-6—37. PP opps—Pho 0 of 3; Chi 0 of 3. Goalies—Pho, M.Smith 2-1-0 (37 shots-35 saves). Chi, Crawford 1-2-0 (34-31).
First Period—1, NJ, Parise 1 (Zajac, Kovalchuk), :33. 2, NJ, Gionta 1 (Zidlicky, Bernier), 3:27. 3, NJ, Elias 2 (Parise, Clarkson), 6:16 (pp). 4, Fla, Bergenheim 2 (Upshall, Clemmensen), 16:11 (pp). 5, Fla, Garrison 1 (Bergenheim, Campbell), 19:52 (pp). Penalties—Versteeg, Fla (interference), 5:16; Elias, NJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:16; Upshall, Fla (roughing), 18:13; Salvador, NJ (roughing), 18:13; Bernier, NJ (roughing), 18:13.
Second—6, Fla, Weaver 1 (Smithson, Upshall), 2:18. 7, Fla, Campbell 1 (Samuelsson, Fleischmann), 6:34 (pp). Penalties—Sykora, NJ (high-sticking), 5:22; Bergenheim, Fla (hook), 10:40.
Third—None. Penalties—Bergenheim, Fla (roughing), 5:24. Shots—Fla 10-10-6—26. NJ 7-9-9—25. PP opps—Fla 3 of 3; NJ 1 of 3. Goalies—Fla, Theodore (6 shots-3 saves), Clemmensen 1-0-0 (6:16 first, 19-19). NJ, Brodeur (12-9), Hedberg 0-1-0 (2:18 second, 14-13).
|at Red Wings||0||0||1||1|
First Period—None. Penalties—Josi, Nas (interference), 7:38; Bertuzzi, Det (elbowing), 11:37; Radulov, Nas (tripping), 12:18; Josi, Nas (cross-checking), 14:27; Datsyuk, Det (tripping), 15:08.
Secnd—None. Pnalty—Bouillon, Nas (hook), 14:01.
Third—1, Nash, Bourque 3 (Radulov), 1:55. 2, Det, Hudler 1 (Kronwall, Quincey), 3:14 (pp). 3, Nash, Klein 2 (Erat), 6:25. 4, Nash, Legwand 1, 19:21 (pp). Penalties—Nash bench, served by A.Kostitsyn (too many men), 2:44; A.Kostitsyn, Nas (interfere), 7:15; Halischuk, Nas (interfere), 13:41; Zetterberg, Det (high-stick), 19:04. Shots —Nash 7-3-7—17. Det 11-17-13—41. PP opps—Nash 1 of 3; Det 1 of 7. Goalies—Nash, Rinne 3-1-0 (41 shots-40 saves). Det, Howard 1-3-0 (17-14).