CHICAGO – Once again, Raffi Torres is making news for all the wrong reasons.
The hard-nosed Vancouver forward was penalized for a questionable hit on Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook in the Canucks’ 3-2 playoff win over the Blackhawks on Sunday.
It was Torres’ first game back from a four-game suspension for a blindside hit on Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle. He wasted no time getting in hot water again, hammering Seabrook behind the Chicago net in the second period with a hit to the defenceman’s head. Seabrook was visibly shaking when he returned to the bench and left for part of the second period, but returned to finish the game.
Torres was assessed a two-minute interference penalty on the play, a call which incensed Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.
“Brutal. Major. Absolutely,” Quenneville said after the Blackhawks lost to fall behind 3-0 in the series. “(The referees) missed it. We could have scored four goals on that (power play). Is it a suspension? I don’t have to worry about that. The guy didn’t even get through his first game back off one. It’s not my call.”
The play could have really cost the Canucks. With Torres in the penalty box, Patrick Sharp took a pass from Jonathan Toews and scored on the Blackhawks’ fifth power play to tie the game 2-2.
“His reputation speaks for itself,” Toews said of Torres. “He’s not just going in to make a play. He’s trying to hurt one of our players. To us, that’s pretty obvious.”
Seabrook was less damning in his assessment of the hit, but says he does expect the NHL to take a look.
“I haven’t seen the hit so I don’t want to comment on it,” Seabrook said. “He plays hard. He’s been in trouble with the league before and (he’s) doing the same kind of thing.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault defended Torres, saying “I didn’t think it was a penalty, but at the end of the day, that’s me.”