Coyotes broadcaster Tyson Nash Has Received Death Threats for his Comments About Raffi Torres’s Hit on Marian Hossa

April 19, 2012 – 8:30 am by Steven Cuce

The NHL playoffs have been highlighted by some stunning upsets, overtime thrillers and big hits that have caused quite a controversy. NHL senior vice president of player safety, Brendan Shanahan, has had his hands full handing out suspensions in an attempt to send a message about cutting down on dirty hits.

Another bang-bang play earlier this week involved a big hit between Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes and Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. Hockey fans can make their own judgement on whether the hit was clean or not, but it sure has stirred the pot on sports radio air waves this week. Coyotes broadcaster Tyson Nash got himself in some hot water for calling Torres’s hit a clean play. Nash has no problem defending himself in the following interview.

Tyson Nash joined ESPN Chicago with Waddle & Silvy to discuss his call of Raffi Torres’s hit on Marian Hossa, getting a better look at  Torres’s hit on Hossa after looking at replays,  Torres leaving his feet to hit  Hossa, if he regrets saying that Torres’s hit on Marian Hossa was clean, receiving death threats for his opinion, Raffi Torres being rattled after the game by his hit and talking with NHL security about death threats he received on twitter.

Tyson, you heard the call from last night. There are a lot of angry Hawks fans now regarding the hit. The floor is yours now, twelve hours later:

“I did go over it a few times with Eddie O, and when you’re the visiting team’s broadcast, it makes it tough because you’re basically fourth in line when you have all the big networks there. We didn’t have the views, I’m sure that Eddie had and those guys, and it happens fast. Let’s face it. You got one chance to look at the replay and then make your opinion and I definitely had an opinion by the call. It’s a real tough thing because hockey is so intense and it’s so fast, and that to me was such a bang-bang play. When you break down any play in hockey like this play is going to be broken down or that it already has been broken down, I mean, you can find fault in a lot of hits, and for the fact that Marian Hossa was hurt, which we did not know to that extent at the time, obviously it makes it that much worse. With all the emotions running high, you see that stretcher some out and man, I’ll tell you what, that’s a very sobering thing to see. And let me also say that Raffi Torres is not a liked guy. He’s obviously got a reputation; he’s done this sort of stuff in the past. When you look at this hit, I mean, this isn’t just going to be that easy for Brendan Shanahan. I can say that, this is definitely going to be a tough one for him. The thing is you got to look at the facts: Did he leave his feet completely? Was it late? Those are going to be the things looked at.”

Well what do you think now Tyson after getting a better look?

“Yeah, I do think that he did leave. Both feet are off the ice for an inch. He explodes into his hit, which is what good hitters do. That’s how you get leverage, that’s how you create momentum. Did he charge? Absolutely not, he did not charge him. Was it late? You know, when you look at it full speed, it’s a bang-bang play. From what I understand, it’s .83 seconds after he got rid of the puck. That, in my mind, is going to be the biggest thing Brendan Shanahan looks at: How late was it? And then you throw in the fact that yeah, both his feet did leave the ice. How high was he? Was it half an inch? Was it an inch? Those are the facts, and that’s all that really matters. Obviously, when I had one chance to look at that replay and then make an opinion? It’s tough. I’m not getting cut any slack, but there is no way…I 100% believe that Raffi Torres did not want to injure Marian Hossa. He plays on the edge, and that’s the thing and that’s what makes it tough.”

Tyson, you played this game a long time. Once you leave your feet and your skates are in the air and off the ice, aren’t you inviting something like that because now your shoulder becomes on level with the head of the guy you are hitting? So, can we discern that once you leave your feet, the intent is to hurt the guy the guy you are going after?

“Yeah, all bets are off when you leave your feet, and I 100 % agree with that. But again, when you’re a hitter, and that’s how I played, you got to explode. Did he explode with his feet off the ice before he made contact or was it after or when was that? That’s also what Brendan Shanahan is going to be looking at. If he left his feet and then hit the head of Marian Hossa, then that’s going to be another issue in itself. You know, those are all the little things and the milliseconds that we’re talking about here. And also, it’s Raffi Torres. The most passionate fans I’ve ever seen in Chicago and when you see that stretcher come out, I mean that just throws everyone off kilt. If Mike Smith goes off in a stretcher the other night, I mean, people are going crazy. You look at [Henrik] Sedin when he got hit by [Dustin] Brown. That was a little late. No, Brown didn’t leave his feet at all, but because Sedin gets to the bench unconscious basically, and he comes back to play in that hockey game, it’s not talked about nearly as much as this Hossa hit because of the stretcher. But let’s also not forget too that Raffi Torres is just back checking. He does not have Hossa in his sights until Hossa turns back with his head down. You also have to put some owness on the fact that Hossa did those two things.”

It sounds like you sorta regret saying what you did, but now you’re making a lot of cases for the hit. Point blank: Do you regret saying “You won’t see a cleaner hit than that”?

“Oh, definitely not. Yeah, I’m saying that was offside, totally offside, because this is going to be looked at, and it’s already been looked at. So it really doesn’t matter what I say or what I did say, but if I could take that back? I mean, this is so on the line and on the edge, you know, that that wasn’t fair to say. But again, I was caught up in it. You know, you’re fired up, it’s a big game. The crowd’s going crazy, and it’s been a real physical series, and you know when I see it for that half a second with the replay that we saw, I mean, that’s what came out.”

You were originally leery to come on today. How much flack have you taken since the game ended?

“Oh, it’s crazy. It’s crazy. I’ve got death threats, I mean it’s unbelievable the passion here with these fans. You know, they love their team. Again, the worst thing about it was that Hossa was hurt, and that was tough to watch. When that stretcher comes out, I’m telling you what. And Raffi Torres, nobody feels sorry for Raffi Torres, but Raffi Torres might as well just went in the locker room and didn’t play the rest of the game because he was so worried, in my mind, about Hossa and how he was doing that he couldn’t even focus on the game.”

Did you speak with Raffi at all after the game?

“I did, and he seemed like he was pretty rattler. He got showered up, went straight to the bus and out of the rink.”

Well, he’ll be out of the rink for a while too. So, death threats: Did people call? Was it through twitter?

“You gotta love the twitter world. I had a few people mention that they’ll be meeting me for breakfast, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Did you talk to NHL Security about that?

“I mentioned it to a guy. It’s fine. It’s fine, it is what it is. Like I said, I wish I didn’t say what I said. You got to pick more of a middle ground, and you know obviously when you see Hossa laying there longer and longer, you’re like ‘Oh geez, let’s really take a closer look at this.’ You know, I thought he was going to get right back up, but obviously that wasn’t the case.”

Listen to Tyson Nash on 1000 ESPN Chicago here

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