If you planned to put together a list of the NHL’s most controversial active hitters, Raffi Torres and Matt Cooke may very well jostle for the top spot. Perhaps it makes sense that Torres feels for his fellow polarizing winger, then.
“I think he’s done a heck of a job the last couple of seasons to re-establish his game,” Torres said. “But with the media getting involved and especially social media, they make him out to be a serial killer. It’s kind of painful when you have to read that kind of stuff. I’m sure his family and close friends have to read that kind of stuff.”
It’s interesting that Torres, 32, would make such a comparison in defending someone else. After all, when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, his former GM Don Maloney reacted to the outrage of Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa by saying, “You would think Raffi murdered a bus load of children the way he’s portrayed here in Chicago.” (Naturally, he would come to regret that statement.)
So, basically, one over-the-top assessment for another?
Regardless, Torres seems to empathize with Cooke’s feeling of throwing a lot of hard work away with that knee-on-knee hit with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.
“I’m sure he felt brutal in that moment [Monday] night, thinking, ‘What did I just do? All that work goes down the drain,'” Torres said. “He’ll take what he gets and I’m sure he’ll be back being an effective player for them in the future.”
Here’s video of the Minnesota Wild winger’s hit on Barrie, which will reportedly sideline the Avs blueliner for four-to-six weeks:
There’s no question Mike Brown and Raffi Torres of the San Jose Sharks have been involved so far in this opening-round series against the L.A. Kings. They’ve mostly been dispensing heavy, punishing body checks and getting under the skin of the opposition.
Brown has, on two occasions, sent a Kings’ player into L.A.’s star goalie Jonathan Quick (here is what he did in Game 1, and here is what he did in Game 2). But in the second period of Sunday’s game, both contributed on the score sheet.
Brown got the Sharks on the board with his first of the series, cutting the Kings’ lead in half at the 4:25 mark of the second period.
Torres tied the game less than five minutes later on a perfect wrist shot that beat Quick on the blocker side. It counted as his second of the series.
Here is the Torres goal.
The Sharks, with a trio of goals in the second period, including Justin Braun’s first of the series, took a 3-2 lead into the third.
A series that many expect to be full of physicality — and bad blood — will be ratcheted up a notch tonight.
San Jose forward Raffi Torres will play against the Kings in Game 1 of their first-round series on Thursday, marking the first time he’ll suit up after missing the final 17 games of the regular season.
Torres missed virtually the entire campaign after tearing up his knee in an exhibition game against Anaheim. He initially returned to the Sharks lineup on Feb. 27, but only played five games before shutting it down again to re-strengthen the ligaments in preparation for the playoffs.
Ah yes, the playoffs. The place where Torres has established his reputation.
Known as one of the most feared hitters in the NHL, Torres has twice been suspended during the postseason for delivering big blows: One for drilling Chicago forward Marian Hossa and, most recently, for hitting Kings forward Jarret Stoll during last year’s second-round series:
The Stoll hit was just one of the many that’s led to serious animosity between L.A. and San Jose.
Earlier this season, Kings captain Dustin Brown sidelined Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl for 45 games with this hit:
The Sharks were irate following the incident, and not just because they lost the services of their rookie sensation, who had 10 goals and 25 points in his first 35 games. GM Doug Wilson said he was “disappointed” in Brown’s lack of concern for Hertl — following the game, Brown said the refs got the call wrong — and in the first rematch between L.A. and San Jose, Tommy Wingels blasted Brown for declining his invite to fight, saying the Kings captain “doesn’t want to own up” for what he did to Hertl.
The series gets underway tonight from the SAP Center in San Jose. You can catch it live on NBSN starting at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Fast fights: Bieksa makes quick work of Giordano, Tinordi roughs up Torres
In one of them, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa didn’t appreciate a hit by Calgary Flames blueliner Mark Giordano, who seemed out of his element in this bout:
Getty Images has a great shot of the aftermath of the squabble:
The other fast bit of fisticuffs happened when Montreal Canadiens tough guy Jarred Tinordi took offense to a hit San Jose Sharks agitator Raffi Torres delivered on Lars Eller. Video of the fight hasn’t been uploaded in a form that can be embedded just yet, but RDS has a clip that can be seen via this link.