CHICAGO -- It's not often Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will criticize the officiating, but after his team fell 3-2 in overtime to the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series, which the Hawks now trail 2-1, he didn't hold back.
"The officiating tonight was a disgrace," Quenneville said.
Quenneville was mostly referring to referees' failure to see Coyotes' winger Raffi Torres nail Marian Hossa in the head in the first period, forcing Hossa to leave the game on a stretcher. Considering the Hawks were punished for five minutes in Game 2 for a hit by Andrew Shaw on goalie Mike Smith, the Hawks argued they could have used a five minute man-advantage themselves. Shaw was kicked out of that game and suspended for three more.
"It was a brutal hit," Quenneville said of Torres' actions. "You could have a multiple-choice question and it's all of the above."
In other words, Quenneville contended it was illegal in a myriad of ways: Charging, interference, targeting the head and maybe a few more infractions could be assigned to it.
"I saw exactly what happened and it was right in front of me," Quenneville continued. "All four guys missed it. It was hard. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace."
Quenneville might end up lighter in the wallet for his comments and Torres is bound to miss some games after the NHL reviews the situation.
"Who knows," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "I don't know what to expect anymore. I don't think anyone does. So we'll see, it will probably be a surprise, I guess. We've got four [referees] out there. When there's a guy getting carried off on a stretcher, you think that there might be something wrong with what happened. Especially when they're huddling around their goalie in this last game, and he keeps playing, and our guy gets three games for it. So it's pretty frustrating when you see that."
Brandon Bollig was given a roughing call for going after Torres which actually put the Hawks on the penalty kill despite Hossa leaving on a stretcher. The official word from the league is the referees didn't see the hit.
"It's why it was frustrating that Torres got to stay in the game, because it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to do something like that again," Toews said. "If nothing happens to him, I don't see why he won't try it."
There were other calls Quenneville didn't like. For example, the one that took Niklas Hjalmarsson off the ice, along with Shane Doan, for unsportsmanlike conduct. But the biggest one remains the Torres hit. Quenneville cares less about punishment for Torres as he does for his team not getting anything out of it in power-play time.
"We've just got to regroup, and get ourselves excited," Quenneville said. "That one hurt, but we've just got to fight back."