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Hawks less than happy with League's ruling

by Dan Rosen
CHICAGO -- Brent Seabrook didn't need a replay. The Blackhawks defenseman on Monday said in an impromptu press conference that Vancouver forward Raffi Torres connected with his head first on a hit behind the net midway through the second period in Game 3 Sunday.
Torres received a two-minute minor for interference on the play that occurred 12:14 into the second period and the Blackhawks scored a power-play goal. The NHL announced Monday that Torres will not receive any further supplementary discipline, meaning he is expected to be in Vancouver's lineup Tuesday as it tries to close out the series in Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC).
"I think he kept his elbow in, but he hit the head first," Seabrook said. "As far as I'm concerned that's the first thing I felt, it's the only thing I felt. The rest of my body is feeling the rest of it today, but (Sunday) night all I could really feel was my ear. The way it looks to me, the head was hit first. Whether he was targeting or not, he made contact with the head first."
Seabrook and his teammates were hoping Torres would receive a suspension. They believe that his history -- Torres on Sunday was playing his first game since serving a four-game suspension for elbowing Edmonton's Jordan Eberle in the head on April 5 -- and the head-first hit delivered on Seabrook warranted further punishment.
The Canucks feel Torres' hit was clean and did not warrant any suspension. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday that he didn't think Torres should have received a penalty on the play while Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said it was "brutal" and thought it should have been a major penalty.
Torres has not been made available for comment since the incident.
"There will be biased opinions on both sides," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "They probably don't think it is a suspension and we do, but at the end of the day we're looking out for our teammate and we feel like it has to be at least a borderline head hit. Like I said (Sunday), considering what Torres has been up to lately, obviously it's no coincidence that something like that would happen, so it's frustrating that the League didn't take action in our favor."
"There's been some other hits, too, that our team has been a part of that look the same and nothing has been done about that," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "We're happy."
Unlike his players, Quenneville was not upset that the League opted against suspending Torres again.
"I've got no problem with that as far as the League views it," he said. "That's their job. They do a good job. They know the standards and the criteria. I just think the call on the ice is where we probably got hurt the most, knowing that it was a major penalty because he didn't touch the puck. Impact hit like that, you can be exposed to severe injuries and I think that's the intent of the call, a major call."
Seabrook, who returned to Sunday's game in the third period, said he feels fine and should be ready to play in Game 4 Tuesday.
Outside of getting hit in the head first, Seabrook's other bone of contention was that he did not have the puck when Torres hit him.
"If that's a split second later and I've got the puck, I'm fair game. When you have the puck you're fair game," Seabrook said. "(But), if you're hitting the guy in the head, you're leaving your feet and you hit him 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 and that's the end of it, then that's the end of it and I'm for that. That's a hockey play. The thing I'm upset with is the fact that he hit my head."
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp echoed Seabrook's sentiments, both about the hit and the player who delivered it.
"With hits like that, I'm usually the first one to give guys the benefit of the doubt because things can go either way, but in this situation I just look at the player making the hit and his intent," Sharp said. "He played eight minutes or nine minutes (9:07 to be exact) and I don't think he touched the puck. His job is to create big hits. He got a penalty on Seabrook's hit, so obviously it wasn't a clean hit. Earlier he took a run at (Brian) Campbell, missed him, so he tried to elbow him in the head. He got a penalty on that one as well. Like I said, I like to give guys the benefit of the doubt, but I think it's pretty clear what his intentions were."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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