You had to figure it was going to happen at some point in the near future that Raffi Torres’ wicked hit to Chicago’s Brent Seabrook in Game 3 would find a way to come back around again to bite the Canucks in the rear end. While that hit may have awakened the sleeping giant in Chicago as the Blackhawks have rallied from down 3-0 in the series to force a Game 7, the effects of that play have found a roundabout way to upset Vancouver.
In yesterday’s Game 6 win by Chicago. Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell caught Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa with a hit eerily similar to that of the one delivered by Torres in Game 3. The difference here is that Bickell’s hit went unpenalized and didn’t get on the radar of the NHL offices while Torres’ hit earned him a minor penalty and a hearing with the NHL. Canucks GM Mike Gillis isn’t too happy about the apparent double standard as he perceives it.
Ed Willes of The Vancouver Province has the grumpy words from the Canucks GM.
“You tell me the difference between that hit and Raffi Torres,” Gillis said, referring to the Canucks’ forward hit on Brent Seabrook in Game 3 which was penalized.
“This was one was worse. (Bickell) left his feet.”
Obviously Gillis has a bit of a slanted view on things given his position on matters. But if you’d like to compare hits, Nucks Misconduct has the videos to compare them as well as their excellent snark on the matter.
The hits are as similar as they ever could be, the one difference being that the puck was actually in play for the hit on Bieksa whereas with Torres’ hit on Seabrook it was long gone. All of that aside, both hits are head shots and both teams have a right to be angry about their guy getting rung up with a bad hit.
The NHL opened Pandora’s Box when they designated the area behind the net as a “hitting zone” and thus introducing one big loophole to their Rule 48 on head shots and it almost seems fair to the teams that they’ve both had to suffer because of it. Of course, it’s not fair at all to the players that have seen their health and well being put in danger because of some insane designation, but this is the world they’re living in now.
What remains to be seen is if the Canucks can use this perceived injustice to motivate them to snap their losing skid and win Game 7. Of course, we’ve seen no other kind of motivation out of them in the last three games so we’re not ready to say we’ll see that out of the Canucks in Game 7. The Canucks need a killer instinct and if this is what causes it to come out, so be it. But if this is what they need, they’ve got bigger problems to deal with.