Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81), from Slovakia, splits the defence of Vancouver Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa (3), Jason Garrison (5) and goalie Cory Schneider to score his second goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 in Chicago Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad watches the play.
Photograph by: Charles Rex Arbogast, AP
CHICAGO -- Canuck coach Alain Vigneault didn't think it even warranted a two-minute minor and in his mind any suggestion Jannik Hansen's hit Tuesday night on Marian Hossa might bring supplemental discipline is absurd.
"It wasn't even a penalty," Vigneault said after the Cancuks lost a 4-3 shootout decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. "Both referees looked at the play and until (Hawks captain Jonathan) Toews went out to talk to them it wasn't even a penalty."
On the suggestion that Hansen could be disciplined by the league, Vigneault said: "Not a chance. He is trying to grab a puck in the air. If the young man is hurt, it is unfortunate, but he was trying to jump to get the puck. Stuff happens."
Hansen collided with Hossa in the neutral zone at about the one-minute mark of the third period. Both players were reaching up to try and knock down a puck that had been flipped high into the air.
Hansen seemed to come down on the back of Hossa's head with his elbow. Hossa went down to the ice for several seconds, before leaving the ice and heading to the dressing room. He did not return. Hansen received a two-minute roughing minor.
"We are both kind of jumping for it and he grabs the puck first and I'm coming down and I kind of land on him a little bit and apparently I hit him in the back of the head is what the ref is telling me," Hansen said after the game. "It's hard for me to tell what really happened.
"It's a hockey play and we bumped together a little hard and he goes down. I can't really do anything about that. We both go for the puck and we ran into each other."
Hossa suffered a concussion in last year's playoffs when he was hit illegally by Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes.
"Obviously we know he got hit last year I think everybody in the hockey world knows that," Hansen said. "But it's a hockey play and when you go for a puck, you go for a puck."
The Hawks were clearly upset with Hansen's hit.
"It was tough to see," said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp. "I thought it was a questionable hit. I’d have to see the replay a few more times, but I didn’t like the hit when I saw it. You like it even less when you see a guy like Hoss on the ice who’s been through something like that before. Hopefully he’s doing okay."
"I think everybody saw it, everybody can have their own opinion," added Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. "I’ll let the people who do that stuff do their job."
FAST START: At times it was more a track meet than a hockey game, which was not exactly what Vancouver winger David Booth was hoping for as he returned to the Canuck lineup to play his first game of the season.
"It was interesting," Booth said. "It was such a fast-paced game and trying to keep up I think I was just a half-step behind. There were a couple of times where I was coming down the wing and usually I'd beat a guy and he got even with me and I wasn't able to get that extra step around him.
"I guess that's to be expected the first game back, not to have that half (step) but hopefully it comes and I'll be working hard to get that half a step back."
Booth played mainly on Vancouver's fourth line with Dale Weise and Max Lapierre. He logged 10:57 of ice time with no shots and five hits. Booth did earn the second assist on Alex Edler's power-play goal at 17:18 of the third period.
Booth suffered a groin injury while doing fitness testing on the first day of training camp. He was out for more than five weeks.
ANTHEM FOR THE AGES: The 22,000 fans who pack the United Center to watch the Blackhawks don't sing the national anthem, Rather, they just roar from start to finish as Jim Cornelison belts it out.
The combination is one that stirs the soul.
Most of players will tell you that the United Center is their favourite road stop and Cornelison's anthem is one of the big reasons why.
It's why Chris Higgins told his dad, brother and an uncle they just had to come to Chicago to watch a game. So they were there Tuesday night to watch Higgins and the Canucks take on the Blackhawks and soak up one of the best atmospheres in sports.
"They always ask me where the best place to play is on the road and they have already been to Montreal, so I have always been telling them, 'come to this one next,' and they finally made it," Higgins said following Tuesday's morning skate at the United Center.
Cornelison, a trained opera singer, has been doing the anthems at Hawks games for a few seasons now. In his real life, he sells real estate. Television simply does not do Cornelison's version of the Star Spangled Banner justice. It has to be experienced live to fully appreciate it.
"It just gets you set for the game," Higgins says. "Not that the games against these guys need any extra atmosphere, but just the whole experience of playing in this building with the anthem gets you jacked up for the first couple of shifts for sure."
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