Hansen hit

Fraser: I’d be surprised if Hansen suspended for Hossa hit; Olcyzk: I’d be surprised if he’s not

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A former NHL referee and player have weighed in on Jannik Hansen’s hit on Marian Hossa during Chicago’s 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver on Tuesday night — and, unsurprisingly, the two see things differently.

Kerry Fraser said he’ll be taken aback if Hansen is suspended for his hit on Hossa.

“Stranger things have happened but I would be surprised if Hansen receives a suspension on this play,” Fraser wrote in his most recent TSN mailbag. “I have seen far worse hits that have gone unpunished this season.”

Meanwhile, former Blackhawk and current NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk told a Chicago-area radio station he’d be surprised if Hansen wasn’t suspended.

“To me, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Olczyk said on 670 The Score. “Once he didn’t play the puck, he had one thing in his mind, and that was to put his forearm or elbow in the back of the head of Marian Hossa.

“If you go by what happened with Duncan Keith last year with Daniel Sedin where the principle point of contact was the head, you would assume that Jannik Hansen would get suspended.”

Here’s more, from Fraser:

I do not believe that there was any deliberate or malicious intent on the part of Jannik Hansen to hit Marian Hossa in the head as both players went up for an airborne puck that had been flipped out of the Hawks zone by Jonathan Toews.

The resulting contact to the back of Hossa’s head was not worthy of anything beyond the minor penalty for roughing that was eventually assessed by the referees; albeit well after play was whistled dead for the Hossa injury. 

And more, from Olcyzk:

It was a really quick play. How eerie is it that where Hossa got hit last night is probably within a foot and a half of where he got hit last year in the playoffs.

I would think that with the call and the rules and making sure that players are in control of their actions, I would be surprised if he did not get suspended.

Hansen will meet with NHL officials at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to decide his fate.

Uh oh, Marian Hossa might be injured after awkward fall

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa, left, talks to center Jonathan Toews during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach

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via Iowa Wild
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As many expected, the Minnesota Wild will make John Torchetti their interim head coach, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

(He’s not the only one to report as much, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie also stated that he’s likely to take the job.)

The team itself hasn’t made an official announcement about Torchetti, and the reasoning is probably simple enough: he’s coaching their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild on Saturday night.

Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.

As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.

More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.

That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.

(Note: photo via the Iowa Wild.)