It was one of the dirtiest hits of not only the playoffs, but the season, and Chicago Blackhawks star winger Marian Hossa was on the receiving end of it.
Phoenix Coyotes agitator Raffi Torres made a leaping, shoulder-to-head hit on Hossa in the first period of Game 3 Tuesday at United Center. The Coyotes wound up being able to overcome two one-goal deficits to win 3-2 in overtime and take a 2-1 series lead, but Hossa's status is what held the Hawks' attention afterward.
Hossa was knocked unconscious by Torres' hit. He was lifted onto a stretcher and taken off the ice. He was then taken by ambulance to an area hospital and later released.
"After initial evaluation on the ice, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital for further testing, which yielded encouraging results," team Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. "He has been released from the hospital, and we are monitoring him closely at home. We anticipate a full recovery in a timetable yet to be determined."
The Hawks were furious that no penalties were assessed to Torres, who a year ago to the day gave Brent Seabrook a concussion with a similar hit behind the Hawks' net as a member of the Canucks.
"I saw exactly what happened," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was right in front of me. All four guys missed it. It was hard (to take). The refereeing tonight was a disgrace."
Torres, a repeat offender, will likely be suspended because of the hit. But that will only be little consolation for the Hawks, who host Game 4 on Thursday.
Hossa may not return until next season, and the Hawks were already fuming after it was announced just hours before the game that rookie forward Andrew Shaw would be suspended for his head-to-mask collision with Phoenix goalie Mike Smith in Game 2.
The Hawks had taken a 1-0 lead on Andrew Brunette's goal and later regained a 2-1 advantage on Michael Frolik's score. But the Coyotes kept pushing back, winning on Mikkel Boedker's bad-angle shot late in overtime.
They all know there is no replacing a player like Hossa.
"It's frustrating when you lose a player like (Hossa) and nothing comes of it," center Jonathan Toews said. "When we come up short at the end, it's very disappointing."