Last April, Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks suffered a concussion on home ice, on a brutal Raffi Torres hit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was stretchered off, and wasn’t medically cleared to play again until Dec. 2012.
On Tuesday night, in the Blackhawks’ home game against the rival Vancouver Canucks, the horrors of that injury were briefly revisited on a controversial hit to Hossa’s head by the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen:
As you can see, the puck was floating in the air when Hossa attempted to glove it. Hansen’s forearm went up and connected with the back of Hossa’s head. Was it intentional? Was it the Canucks’ forward awkwardly trying to play the puck? To the surprise of no one, Chicago’s broadcasters saw it a tad differently than, say, Canucks bloggers.
Hossa was helped off the ice. No word yet on his status. He had scored two goals in the game, one in which the Blackhawks were trying to match the NHL record for most games to start a season without a regulation loss.
Hansen was given a 2-minute roughing minor.
Given that this is the Canucks and the Blackhawks, there’s an extra layer of controversy on this play: Please recall the loose puck forearm from Duncan Keith that injured Daniel Sedin last season:
The NHL suspended Keith for five games for a “dangerous, reckless” play … but not a premeditated one.
So yes, even if Hansen was reaching for the puck and didn't head-hunt Hossa, a forearm to the back of the head of a player less than a year removed from the stretcher is still a reckless, illegal play. Paging Brendan Shanahan?