Through three games, it looked like the Vancouver Canucks would cruise through their first-round playoff series, finally exacting some revenge on the Chicago Blackhawks team that had eliminated them from the post-season the past two years.
Then something happened: the Blackhawks came storming back to win the next two games by a combined score of 12-2, and all of a sudden were down by only one game.
Midway through the second period of Game 3, Canucks forward Raffi Torres caught Blackhawks defencemen Brent Seabrook with a shoulder to the head during a collision behind Chicago's net. Seabrook left the game and has not played since with what is officially being listed as an upper-body injury but is suspected to be a concussion.
And while losing Seabrook for the past two games was certainly a blow to Chicago's defence corps, Torres' hit may have provided Seabrook's teammates with the spark that has them playing so hot the past two games.
Chicago players such as Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews admitted seeing their teammate miss time after a big hit gave them a little extra motivation moving forward against Vancouver.
Keith, Seabrook's defence partner, has especially picked up his play. After only a mediocre season for Keith's standards, the 27-year-old has looked like the Norris Trophy winner he was a year ago the last two games, something Torres surely wasn't banking on when he went after Seabrook.
While it could also be argued that being down 3-0 in the series is motivation enough to play with the desperation and poise Chicago has shown the last two games, Torres' Game 3 hit on Seabrook could end up being seen as a series-changing moment.
So here's Dave's question to you: "Did the Raffi Torres incident change the Vancouver-Chicago series? If not, what did?"
And here are the answers Dave liked best:
"The Canucks were doing just fine with Raffi Torres in the press box. They haven't won with Brent Seabrook in the press box. Case closed." - Steve in Glace Bay, NS
"Dave Bolland's return has had more to do with what Chicago has accomplished than anything Raffi Torres did or the NHL failed to do." - John in North Bay, ON
"Never poke a stick into a busy beehive. Raffi Torres awoke the Blackhawks and Vancouver has been stung twice." - Rose in Sherwood Park, AB
"Tie Domi's hit on Scott Niedermayer changed a Toronto-New Jersey series. Yes, it can happen like that." - Mark in Toronto, ON
"The Torres incident is half the reason. Roberto Luongo is the other half." - Tim in Gillam, MB
And Dave's Reply to All: Don't Blame Raffi
When they make the movie of the Vancouver-Chicago series, especially if Chicago wins in the end, the Torres hit on Seabrook will be the whole story. Surely it isn't, but Hollywood wouldn't care. Seabrook would be the injured hero and the inspirational force that compelled his teammates to reverse their fortunes on his behalf, and Torres would be the villain, who was allowed to show up for Game 4 representing Vancouver's evil against Chicago's good. Good would ultimately triumph over evil. Roll the credits. I wish I had a better explanation. I will tell you that, not only did I think Torres should be suspended, I felt Vancouver would be better off if he had missed Game 4. The Canucks played that game as if they were apologizing. For Raffi Torres? For being up 3-0? I don't know, but there has been a different dynamic ever since. It's up to the Canucks to change it, and if they can't, ultimately, it's their fault, not Raffi Torres' fault.