Raffi Torres isn’t a member of the Vancouver Canucks anymore, but he might not ever play a game at the United Center without a cascade of boos. This time around, Torres caught Marian Hossa with a questionable hit, forcing the Chicago Blackhawks sniper to leave the game on a stretcher.
Update: Chris Kuc reports that Hossa was taken from the United Center in an ambulance. Scary stuff.
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Torres didn’t receive a penalty for the check, but Brandon Bollig got a game misconduct for going after the Coyotes forward. Replays revealed that Torres might have left his skates on the check, but feel free to debate its dirtiness in the comments. Joel Quenneville was livid in an on-the-bench interview, too (expect video of that, too).
Blackhawks fans are booing Mike Smith every time he touches the puck, but they might want to save some of that negative energy for Torres.
As you may remember, Torres caught Brent Seabrook with a brutal and controversial check behind the net in last year’s playoffs. It seemed to be part of what lit a fire under Chicago, who nearly came back from a 3-0 series deficit to beat Torres’ former team, the Vancouver Canucks.
With Andrew Shaw’s three-game suspension, it’s going to be hard for Torres to avoid sitting a game or two himself. What kind of punishment does he deserve, then?
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.
Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.
With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.
Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.
It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.
Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.