Much like Matt Cooke has (arguably) done, San Jose Sharks hitter Raffi Torres hopes to walk the line that he’s gone over many times in his NHL career.
The controversial 31-year-old winger told the Mercury News stated that he’s focusing on “stick-on-the-puck first and then kind of rubbing the guy out” rather than zeroing in on a huge check to separate a player from the puck.
After all, he’s well aware that he probably won’t get the benefit of the doubt.
“My past isn’t on my side,” Torres said. “For me it’s going to be about just focusing on keeping my feet on the ice and try not to clip guys from the side.”
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan insists that he doesn’t want the fearsome checker “backed off,” but he also wants Torres “to do it the proper way.”
That can be easier said than done, considering the speed of the NHL game.
While Torres’ past does indeed work against him in some ways, he did point out one way that history of violence could benefit the Sharks.
“Hopefully I’ll be in other guys’ heads, you never know,” Torres said. “I’m sure everybody thinks that maybe today’s the day he throws that big hit again, and he’s going to get in trouble.”
That’s bad for Torres’ ability to avoid suspensions, yet it might just open up some ice for his more talented teammates and make him a desirable asset.