A day after being leveled by the Canucks' Raffi Torres with a questionable hit during Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Chicago Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook doesn't understand the NHL's decision to not hand down a suspension to Torres.
"With his history, I think that hit deserves a suspension," Seabrook said Monday. "I'm not going to sit up here and complain about that. It's a fast game, things happen quick. You have a split-second to make a decision. I don't think he was trying to hit me in the head but at the same time, I mean, if the league's not going to suspend somebody for that I just don't really understand that."
TSN reported Monday that the NHL's Hockey Operations department said the hit didn't violate Rule 48, which designates the area behind the net as a "hitting area." That means Torres, who was suspended for the first two games of the series after an illegal elbow to the head of the Oilers' Jordan Eberle during the regular season, received no further punishment than the two-minute interference penalty for flattening Seabrook with his shoulder in the second period.
"I think (Torres) kept his elbow in but I think he hit the head first," Seabrook said. "As far as I'm concerned, that's the first thing I felt, the only thing I felt. The rest of my body is feeling the rest of it today. (Sunday night) all I could really feel is my ear and the way it looks to me is the head was hit first. Whether or not he was targeting it or not, he made contact with the head first.
"If that's a split-second later and I have the puck, I'm fair game," Seabrook added. "When you have the puck you're fair game and that's a clean hit. If you're hitting a guy in the head and you're leaving your feet and you hit him right square in the melon, that's not the hit you're supposed to make.
"If he stays on the ice and drives his shoulder through my chest... that's the end of it. I'm for that. That's a hockey play. The thing I'm upset with is the fact he hit my head. It looks to me and it felt (Sunday) night that the head was the first point of contact. That's the way I feel."
Seabrook said he was unaware of the NHL rule about hits behind the net being different than those elsewhere on the ice.
"A hit behind the net is the same as a hit anywhere else on the ice," Seabrook said. "That's the first time I've heard of that. It's hockey. It's a fast game, it's a physical game. Nobody wants to see that part taken out of it. It's the playoffs, everybody's doing what they can to win and you get a chance to hit somebody you're going to take it."
With Game 4 on Tuesday night, Seabrook said the best way the Hawks can retaliate for the hit is to win and send the series back to Vancouver for Game 5.
"Our focus is to win the game and take it back to Vancouver and try and win the series. That's the best way we can get back at them."
One-timer: coach Joel Quenneville said he's "optimistic" winger Bryan Bickell (wrist) and center Dave Bolland (concussion) will play in Game 4. Winger Tomas Kopecky (upper body) will not play.
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