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Blackhawks on Verge of Elimination for the Wrong Reasons??
Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:31 PM
The 'hawks have admittedly struggled this year, but the post-season matchup in the first round appeared to be a definite advantage for Chicago. One would think it would be an easy road to get past Phoenix and into round two of the playoffs. But so far, it's been no cake-walk, and unfortunately, Chicago finds itself down 1-2 in the series.
Why? Sure, the Blackhawks are not playing their best, but have certainly played good enough to be up 3-0. Some would say there's a conspiracy lurking in the shadows... maybe so.
Admittedly, I am biased when watching games - it's hard not be to - but it sure seems like Chicago has gotten the short end of the [hockey]stick on more calls than what Phoenix has experienced. There are two plays that stick out in my mind that seem to have been particularly unfair and could potentially be playing huge roles in the outcome of the series.
First, in Game 2, the hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith by 'hawk' Andrew Shaw. It is definitely a no-no to hit a goalie, which Shaw obviously did. Smith should have received an Academy Award for his post-hit performance, which made it look like he was in the throes of death, writhing on the ice. Replays showed that the hit was a glancing blow. Shaw was given a game misconduct and missed the remaining 2/3rds of the game. Afterward, experts on 670 The Score all predicted that there would be no suspension for the hit, "at most, one game." It was thought that the decision would be based some-what on how badly Smith was hurt. Smith returned to the game and finished it, and said he was 100%. When the verdict came in, Shaw received a THREE game suspension, in addition to the 2/3 game he already missed. In a 7 game series, that's a pretty significant penalty.
Fast forward to Game 3, Raffi Torres hit Marian Hossa, actually launching himself into the air and into Hossa (another definite no-no), and delivered a thunderous hit. Hossa, not embellishing at all, laid out on the ice, unconcious. He had to be taken of the ice on a stretcher and spent the night in the hospital. Yes, Torres, is the same cheap-shot artist that took out Adam Seabrook last year, with another vicious hit. Hossa has already been ruled out for tonight's game and is out indefinitely, most likely to miss the next several games. Torres didn't receive ANY penalty during the game. (the officials claim to have not seen it?!) Torres has been suspended "indefinitely", but that's a great trade for the Coyotes... taking out Chicago's top scorer, in exchange for a cheap-shot "enforcer".
Where does the conspiracy enter? The Coyotes are currently owned by the NHL, as an owner is being sought to purchase the team. The general conspiracy thinking is that the further Phoenix gets in the playoff, the more valuable, more desirable the team becomes. Could that sort of thinking have entered the officials minds on the ice, possibly causing a "blind eye" to miss the Torres hit? To over penalize the Shaw hit? To conveniently make calls in the Coyote's favor?
The absence of Shaw, and now Hossa during this series can - and will - reduce the Blackhawk's strength significantly. It's a shame that the outcome of the series could be affected by two hits.
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