Raffi Torres

History: Where Torres’ 25 games ranks among the NHL’s longest suspensions

16 Comments

Brendan Shanahan’s 25-game suspension of Phoenix forward Raffi Torres represents one of the harshest punishments in NHL history.

Here’s a look at some of the other most notorious incidents (and suspensions) of the modern era:

Dec. 2007: Chris Simon stomps Jarkko Ruutu (30 games)

A repeat offender — he’d been suspended 25 games in March of 2007 for slashing Ryan Hollweg in the head — Simon was handed one of the stiffest penalties in league history.

The official statement from then-league disciplinarian Colin Campbell:

“In addition, while the act itself was extremely dangerous, the fact that this is the eighth incident requiring the imposition of supplementary discipline on  Simon compelled me to impose a very severe penalty in this case. 

When a player repeatedly evidences the lack of ability to control his actions and conducts himself in total disregard of the rules, as well the health and safety of other players on the ice, each subsequent incident is deserving of enhanced scrutiny and more severe discipline.”

Oct. 2007: Jesse Boulerice cross-checks Ryan Kesler (25 games)

Campbell statement:

“You hope there’s a point where a player says: this is where I draw the line and I’m not going any farther.

“When they do go farther, they get a penalty. When they go farther than that, they get a suspension. When they take it to the point where Mr. Boulerice did, it’s well above a normal suspension.”

Feb 2000: Marty McSorley slash on Donald Brashear (remainder of season — 23 games)

This hit basically ended McSorley’s career, as he’d never play another NHL game after the Brashear incident. McSorley was later found guilty of assault and sentenced to 18 months probation in what was the first trial for an on-ice attack since Dino Ciccarelli in 1988.

Apr. 1993: Dale Hunter deliberate hit/injury on Pierre Turgeon (21 games)

In one of his first major rulings as commissioner, Gary Bettman handed down what was, at the time, the longest suspension in league history for an on-ice incident.

“Under my watch, this is the way I’m going to deal with these incidents,” Bettman said. “If this is not a deterrent, I’m going to find something that is. Everyone will be held accountable for their conduct.”

Mar. 2004: Todd Bertuzzi punches Steve Moore (remainder of season — 20 games)

Bertuzzi was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs and, because of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, banned from playing in any IIHF league as well. Moore’s career was essentially over after the hit; his civil suit against Bertuzzi is set to begin on Sept. 24, 2012.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

19 Comments

Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

23 Comments

If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

22 Comments

It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

100 Comments

Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.