NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 02:  Raffi Torres #13 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 2, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Sharks defeated the Devils 4-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Raffi Torres says he can change the way he plays

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The Carolina Hurricanes’ decision to bring veteran forward Raffi Torres on a tryout deal was met with a bit more criticism than your usual training camp tryout.

That is because Torres has been one of the NHL’s more reckless players over the years when it comes to delivering illegal hits and has been on the receiving end of five suspensions in his career that have totaled 78 games. That means he has missed almost an entire NHL season’s worth of games because of illegal hits.

That is a lot. It is a total includes the 25-game (later reduced to 21 games) ban he was given for a hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during the 2012 playoffs and the 41-game ban he received last year for the preseason hit to Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

That resume has, obviously, left him with a pretty bad reputation in the NHL for his style of play, and with him turning 35 in a month it is worth wondering if he can ever change a style that he spent his entire career playing.

On Friday, he spoke with Chip Alexander of the News-Observer and said that he is well aware of what people say about him and his style of play, while also acknowledging this might be his last shot in the NHL and that he needs to change the way he plays.

More from Torres, via the News-Observer:

“People are going to say what they’re going to say. I have not helped myself. You sleep in the bed you make. I accept that, I believe I had paid my dues and I have dealt with what I had to deal with. I think I can change the way I play.”

“I know I’ve got to change. I know I say that over and over, but I’ve got to change and I can change,” Torres said. “People say, ‘What about the five or six suspensions?’ and I understand that, but overall I think I can change, I can still play, can still be productive.”

He is right about one thing: He has tried to deliver this message before, apologizing for several of his previous hits that have warranted suspensions and multiple times declaring his desire to change his ways on the ice.

Following the suspension for the hit on Hossa in the 2012 playoffs he said he wanted to focus on being a smarter player.

Since those comments he has played in only 56 NHL games and been suspended for 47; A six-game suspension that sat him down for most of a second playoff series as a member of the Sharks, and the 41-game suspension from last season.

He has not played in an NHL regular season game since the 2013-14 season, and even then he only played in five games.

His inability to avoid crossing the line is always going to be a question mark because that reputation never really leaves a player. Plus, at some point as a player you have to stop talking about changing, and actually make a change. To this point, Torres has never been able to prove that he can.

But for as big of a problem as that might be, the bigger issue for Torres when it comes to making the Hurricanes is the toll injuries and surgeries in recent years have taken on him, and what he actually has left to offer from a skill and production standpoint.

Keep your head up: Hurricanes reportedly hand Raffi Torres a PTO

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 3:  Raffi Torres #13 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks for a 3-2 victory in overtime in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, May 03, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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From opting against fighting the NHL’s 41-game suspension to seeing his season derailed by knee issues, there was the feeling that the league had seen the last of controversial forward Raffi Torres.

Perhaps not.

The Carolina Hurricanes reportedly handed the 34-year-old a PTO, according to former Hurricanes defenseman Aaron Ward.

It’s something the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander also mentioned on Monday.

With Bryan Bickell added to the mix during this off-season, the Hurricanes seem interesting in adding some beef. It’s unclear if Torres is really in the sort of condition to make a mark, but Carolina’s going to at least take a look at him.

Beware, pre-season opponents and training camp teammates.

Report: Sharks forward Raffi Torres clears waivers

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Sharks forward Raffi Torres has reportedly cleared waivers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The 34-year-old was forced to sit out the first 41 games of the season because he was suspended for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg (above).

Torres also missed all of last season with a torn ACL. A year and a half later, his knee is still believed to be giving him some trouble.

While serving his suspension, Torres underwent a subchondroplasty procedure (a scope to clean up scar tissue), per CSN’s Kevin Kurz.

According to Kurz, the plan is for Torres to stay with San Jose’s AHL affiliate.

His days as an everyday NHLer might be over.

Sharks waive Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres
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The San Jose Sharks have placed veteran winger Raffi Torres on waivers, per TSN.

Torres, 34, has yet to play in a game this year after missing 41 contests to a suspension for hitting Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg in the head. Torres is also dealing with lingering knee issues, but had recovered enough to join San Jose’s AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint in mid-January.

More, from the Mercury News:

Torres, whose two-week conditioning assignment with the Barracuda expired earlier this week, was still recovering from knee surgery he had in December. After he was eligible to return from his 41-game suspension, Torres played two games for the Sharks’ AHL affiliate before he suffered what Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said was a minor setback.

Torres missed the Barracuda’s three games last week, but returned to practice with the team on Monday and played for the Barracuda on Wednesday night, registering one shot on goal in what was a 3-0 loss to the Texas Stars.

Torres is in the last of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M average annual cap hit. Given his age and health problems — his surgically repaired ACL has undergone a variety of procedures over the last two years, and cost him all of the ’14-15 campaign — Torres seems unlikely to be claimed.

Should he clear, the Sharks would (presumably) send him back to the American League, so he can continue working back into game shape.

 

Raffi Torres had ‘minor setback’ during AHL conditioning stint

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When Ben Smith was placed on waivers today, some saw it as a sign that Raffi Torres was about to return to the San Jose Sharks’ lineup.

Not so.

In fact, Torres remains with AHL San Jose on a conditioning stint. And per CSN Bay Area, he was unable to play Monday for the Barracuda, then missed practice Tuesday.

“I know he had a minor setback and then he didn’t play the other night,” said Sharks coach Pete DeBoer. “Where he’s at, as of today, I don’t know.”

Torres did manage to play two AHL games before his “minor setback.” He didn’t register a point in either.

A pending unrestricted free agent, the 34-year-old admitted earlier this month that his lingering knee issues may force him to retire.