GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said it wasn’t discussed in the locker room, but when teammate Jamal Mayers dropped the gloves with Phoenix Coyotes winger Raffi Torres early in the Hawks' 6-2 win on Thursday, everyone in the building knew what was happening.
“I’m trying to create momentum, and, obviously, we have pretty good memory of what happened,” Mayers said afterward. “I realize what my job is at this point.”
His job was to remind Torres of the vicious hit he put on Hawks winger Marian Hossa last spring. It knocked Hossa out of the playoffs and resulted in a 25-game suspension for Torres. The Coyotes' tough guy knew what was coming.
“It is what it is,” he said. “If I’m going to go out there and play that way, then you have to be held accountable.”
Coincidence or not -- Mayers wouldn’t take any credit -- the Hawks took off after the bout, scoring four times in the opening period. But only after the retaliation was doled out. Just 2:35 into the contest, as Torres came by the Hawks' bench, Mayers jumped over for a line change, and, immediately, Torres was ready.
When asked how it went down, Mayers responded: “It was pretty much known,” as in everyone knew why it was happening.
The two exchanged a handful of punches at a rapid rate before heading to the box.
“Give him credit he was willing to go,” Mayers said. “It still doesn’t excuse what happened.”
But it was the most the Hawks were willing to do. They don’t buy into the idea that one cheap shot deserves another -- at least not when they’re off to a 9-0-2 start. Handle it “between the whistles” is how Mayers put it.
“It takes guts to do something like that,” Sharp said. “There was really no discussion of it in our locker room, we just wanted to focus on playing hard and not get sidetracked by that stuff. Credit to Jamal for doing it. That’s the toughest job in the game. It definitely fired us up and got us going.”
After two power-play goals and two even-strength goals, the fight looked even better in hindsight.
“Jammer knows his role,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s a great pro. Commend him.”
So the Torres/Hossa ordeal should be over. Hossa is healthy and Torres has served his punishment, both on and off the ice. Mayers was asked if that was the case.
“We’ll see,” he said with a smile.