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Hawks have measured approval of suspension

by Jerry Brown /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With Marian Hossa's equipment hanging in his usual locker in the visiting dressing room at Arena, his Chicago Blackhawks teammates reacted with measured approval to the 25-game suspension Phoenix winger Raffi Torres received for the hit Tuesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series that injured Hossa.

"(Torres) is going to have to live with (his actions)," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. 'I'm sure a lofty suspension like that would make any player kind of rethink their actions. Maybe he doesn't think it was such a normal hockey play anymore."

But with Hossa home in Chicago recovering from injuries sustained from the hit, the Blackhawks said even this punishment only does so much.

"We take little satisfaction seeing some justice there, but Hossa is still at home not feeling like himself," Toews said. "We're still hoping he's going to make a full recovery. At the same time, it doesn't bring him back into our lineup and make him feel right again."

According to the League's Department of Player Safety, which handed out the suspension Saturday afternoon, Torres committed three fouls on the hit -- charging, interference and an illegal check to the head -- and has a history of being punished for similar plays. As a result, he will miss the remainder of the team's run in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Any games not served this postseason will be served in the 2012-13 regular season.

Torres, who was suspended indefinitely after the hit, already missed Thursday's Game 4, which is considered the first game of the suspension. If Phoenix plays seven games series in each playoff round this year, the suspension would be finished.

Chicago defenseman Sean O'Donnell said the punishment was a clear message to Torres, who is a repeat offender with a significant list of previous hits that have come under League review.

"Hopefully Raffi learns from this and can come back and be an effective player," O'Donnell said. "He can hit really hard even when he hits clean. So when he does things like that, he's really going to hurt someone. It's a stiff sentence, but hopefully he looks in the mirror and continues to have a good career, but plays a little more between the lines."

Chicago center Brendan Morrison said the stiff sentence should be heard throughout the League.

"It's precedent," Morrison said. "We've been talking about it for so long over the course of the past couple years, and there have been more suspensions, but the message isn't getting through to guys. I don't know how it can't get through after this. It's a severe suspension. I don't know why it's taken this long, really, to send a message.

"At the end of the day, the onus is on the players to have respect for each other. And the respect in the League has diminished severely over the past few seasons. Maybe the only way to put an end to it is to get after guys like this."

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