A. This could be considered a "hockey play" where Seabrook needs to be responsible and know that there is a possibility of a blindside hit when he swoops behind the net.
B. This could be a suspendable blindside headshot by Torres, resulting in further punishment.We all need to take a step back and take in the situation for what it is.
Here is what happened tonight:
Brent Seabrook is a top-pairing defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks. Seabrook has had concussion problems this year. He just recently had one against Detroit in the last game of the season. Seabrook circles behind the net to get the puck, and Raffi Torres hits him in the head with his shoulders. Seabrook gets knocked out momentarily.
Now consider this hypothetical situation:
Dan Hamhuis is a top-pairing defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks. Hamhuis has had concussion problems this year. He just recently had one against Columbus and came back only in the last game of the season. Hamhuis circles behind the net to get the puck, and John Scott nails him in the head with his shoulders. Hamhuis gets knocked out momentarily.
Now, if you can honestly say that John Scott should not receive a penalty and that Hamhuis was responsible for knowing the possibility of the hit coming, then you are justified in saying that Raffi should not be getting suspended.
If you cannot stand the thought of John Scott getting away with this hypothetical headshot, then you cannot let Raffi Torres off the hook for his headshot.
There are people bringing up past headshots (ie. Ladd on Kesler, Hordichuk on Hjalmersson) to defend this hit. The problem with this is that those hits occurred in the past. This is the new NHL where they are trying to implement a new rule against headshots. Obviously, the Raffi Torres hit may look fine because all of us are used to hits like this. But is it right?
No. Not in my mind. If it was Hamhuis that was nailed in that exact same scenario, I, for one, would not be able to say "That was a clean hockey play." I think the NHL is trying to set new precedents where eventually, some time in the future, we will see these types of hits and automatically assess it as a suspendible offense.
What are your thoughts? Is this a hockey play? Or is this a suspendible offense?
EDIT: Here is the video, courtesy of CanucksHD.
EDIT 2: This photo posted by drdeath was very insightful. I thought it would help others in making their decision.
After seeing this photo, I can, like drdeath points out, also see that Raffi hit him from the front 100%. If there is one place Seabrook should be protecting himself, it is hits from the front. I hope the NHL and Campbell see this too.
The only problem that remains is that he does make contact first with Seabrook's head.
Edited by Dasein, 17 April 2011 - 11:18 PM.