(CBS) - It was one of the most brutal hits you’ll see in hockey.
When Coyotes forward Raffi Torres clocked Marian Hossa during last season’s playoffs, he forever earned the ire of Blackhawks fans. For the hit, Torres was suspended for 25 games, missing all of the Coyotes playoff run.
Now, in just his third game back, Torres will face the Blackhawks in Phoenix on Thursday night.
“It is what it is,” Torres said Wednesday. “Obviously, (the Blackhawks are) off to a great start. Whatever happens out there, happens. I’m sure they just want to go out there and get the ‘W.’ It’ll be a good test for us. We got a good team coming in here, the best team in the league.
“At the end of the day, it’s hockey. Whatever happens out there, happens. We’ll see how it pans out.”
When asked if he expects the Blackhawks to retaliate, Torres wasn’t sure what to expect.
“It’s tough to say,” Torres said. “My mindset is the same way I always get ready for games – to go over the things in my head that I need to get done. I’m not going to veer off from what I have to do out there, just go out and play hard.”
Looking back, Torres said the entire experience has made him a better person – even if that means changing the way he plays.
“We have to protect the top players in our league,” Torres said. “If it’s going to take me thinking a little and not just running around with my head cut off, then that’s what it’s going to take.
“I was over it the day after they told me I got 25 games. I look at it as for everything negative that happens to you, there’s a positive that comes out of it. I learned a lot about myself over the last eight, nine months.”