Revenge: Mayers fights Torres
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Jamal Mayers is a reactionary type of fighter. He’s one that tussles in response to situations during a game more than just causing a fracas because he can.
But his fight against Phoenix forward Raffi Torres was a reactionary fight. It was in response to what Torres did to Marian Hossa 10 months ago, and the Chicago Blackhawks fed off his actions.
Mayers and Torres fought less than three minutes into the game, and the Blackhawks responded to that with a goal barrage in their 6-2 victory over the Coyotes on Thursday night. For Mayers, there was no doubt what had to be done: engage Torres, who was seeing the Blackhawks for the first time off a 21-game suspension for his hit on Hossa last April.
“I realize what my job is at this point. It still doesn’t excuse what happened, but give (Torres) credit: he was willing to go,” Mayers said afterward. “It was pretty much known (what would happen). Again, I realize what my job is and I tried to create momentum. Obviously we have a pretty good memory of what happened. I’m just glad we got the win.”
Torres was a willing combatant in the fight, which basically ended in a draw. But he’s also looking to get past the incident.
"I’ve moved on. I don’t go home and think about this stuff. It’s something that’s in the past, and it’s just part of the game,” Torres told the local media. “But I understand that if I’m going to go out there and run around and give some hits, then I’m going to have to answer the bell sometimes. That’s a perfect example tonight.”
For the Blackhawks, the fight was motivating.
“That was awesome; that one gave me chills,” said Patrick Kane, who tallied two power-play goals and an assist. “He pumped up everyone on the bench and got everyone going.”
Patrick Sharp, who had three assists, agreed.
“We didn’t talk about it before the game but everyone knew it was coming. It’s one thing to get in a fight in the heat of the moment. But to think about it for a while and know it’s coming is another problem all in itself,” Sharp said. “It gave us a lot of energy, brought us together as a team and definitely was a result of us playing better afterward.”
Coach Joel Quenneville called Mayers “a great pro.”
“He might have had an idea of what he wanted to do, but we talked about not taking any initiating type of penalties,” he said. “Jammer knows his role.”