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Torres in hot water again after questionable hit

Brent Seabrook #7 of the Chicago Blackhawks hits Raffi Torres #13 of the Vancouver Canucks in the chest with his stick after Torres took him down in the 2nd period in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 17, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel//Getty Images

The puck was right there, if not on Brent Seabrook's stick, then certainly very close. But his head was turned, leaving the big Chicago Blackhawks defenceman unable to see Vancouver Canucks winger Raffi Torres barrelling in on him to make contact.

Immediately a familiar - and by now predictable - debate came up again: Was it a blindside hit? A clean one?

Or something in the murky middle?

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The check was in full view of the official down low, who wasted little time in calling a minor penalty for interference, despite the presence of the puck.

The NHL's new blindside hit rule seemed to apply to the situation, which should have meant a major penalty and game misconduct was called.

(The question: Was the head "targeted and/or the principle point of contact," as per the rule?)

Torres was outraged to even get a penalty on the play, one that ended up hurting the Canucks, as Patrick Sharp tied things at 2-2 on the man advantage soon after. Some of the debate, however, may be lost due to the fact Vancouver still won the game, 3-2, to take a likely insurmountable 3-0 lead in the series.

Seabrook, meanwhile, was shaken up on the play and again on another clean hit by Torres that came shortly after Sharp's goal. Seabrook missed at least a little time during a trip to the dressing room but still played 22 minutes and was back out there again for many of the frantic final minutes of the game.

Torres didn't speak to the media after the game, but his coach, Alain Vigneault, said he didn't feel it was a penalty.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville called the hit "brutal" and should have been a major.

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"Brutal. Major. Absolutely," he said. "They missed it. We could have scored four goals on that play.

"He's a big Western Canadian kid. Somebody else might have been on a stretcher."

It goes without saying that Torres, who was playing his first game since serving a four-game suspension, will likely be back in disciplinarian Colin Campbell's office again tomorrow.

And just what constitutes a blindside hit will be debated, yet again.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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