Last night saw the return of Raffi Torres to NHL ice for the first time since the first round of the playoffs last April. After serving what turned into a 22-game suspension for hitting an unsuspecting Marian Hossa in the head, he was part of the Coyotes’ 2-0 win over Dallas.
His stats for the night were uneventful (11:37 TOI, 4 shots, 0 PIM) and he was just happy to get back to action as Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona shares.
“There was a lot of nerves out there, and sometimes my emotions run a little too wild and I get too caught up in the game,” he said. “The first couple shifts, I was just kind of skating around way out of position and didn’t know where I was going.”
For what it’s worth, the Stars did their part to try to stir things up with him and test out the “new” Raffi Torres. He’s vowed to be a different player after getting the book thrown at him, but if he has a Matt Cooke-like turnaround in what he does, the Coyotes hope he’ll still be the effective player he was when he wasn’t running guys all over the ice.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Adam Jahns reports that the league (er, Gary Bettman) will hear Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres’ appeal soon. As you may recall, he received a 25-game suspension for an ugly hit on Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa. (Chicago Sun Times, via Lyle Richardson)
NHLPA head Donald Fehr hopes to “grow the game.” Here’s the first tip: don’t allow a lockout to happen. (IIHF)
Apparently 2008 was an especially bad year for the Toronto Maple Leafs. (The Hockey Writers)
On June 14, 1945, the NHL rejected an attempt to bring a team to Philadelphia for the 1946-47 season. Then, almost 50 years later, Bobby Clarke became the Flyers general manager. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
Quite the huge last few months for Dustin Penner. He was productive during the 2012 playoffs, won his second career Stanley Cup, dominated the “awesome beard” division and then shaved it down to a truly astonishing handlebar ‘stache. Now all he needs to do is sign a ridiculous contract on July 1 or so … (Puck Daddy)
New Jersey Devils forward Petr Sykora and backup goalie Johan Hedberg discuss their futures with the team. (Fire & Ice)
Drew Doughty grew up rooting for the Los Angeles Kings. (Los Angeles Times)
Anaheim Ducks fans might just need to get used to the Kings being a dominant team. On the bright side, they can still pick on San Jose Sharks fans. (OC Register)
Bryce Salvador admits that there’s a chance he won’t be back with the Devils next season. (NHL.com)
If you gauge the angriest Phoenix Coyotes by the shots of the explosively awkward handshake line following the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-3 OT win, you’d think Shane Doan was the angriest. Maybe that’s true, but star goalie Mike Smith arguably expressed his anger regarding Dustin Brown’s hit on Michal Rozsival in the most bombastic way, as Mark McClune reports.
“If Raffi Torres gets 25 games for his hit during the play then this guy (Brown) ought to be done forever,” Smith said.
Is that hyperbole or just the truth?
Either way, it’s a testament to why reporters should always have access to players and coaches shortly after games. For all the times when people sing cliche lullabies, there are those moments when someone like Smith unleashes his honest rage.
It’s probably safe to say that Brown won’t essentially get banned from the Stanley Cup finals, but check out this post to share your thoughts on what – if any – kind of punishment he deserves for that controversial hit.
(For what it’s worth, Dave Tippett kept his cool on the subject, simply saying “write what you saw.”)
Raffi Torres has been sitting quietly in the press box since delivering his brutal shot to Marian Hossa in the first round, but there’s a very outside chance his days of waiting may come to an end soon.
According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, Torres’ appeal of his 25-game suspension will be heard on Thursday. The catch with an appeal, however, is he won’t be sitting down with Brendan Shanahan to discuss it but with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman instead. The chances of seeing Bettman go against his guy Shanahan and reduce Torres’ suspension would appear to be minimal.
Torres’ suspension for his late, head-targeting hit is one of the longest in NHL history and one that was deemed to have three separate penalties occur on the same play. No penalty was called during the game.
The one guy we hadn’t heard from regarding Raffi Torres’ 25-game suspension for hitting Marian Hossa was Torres himself. This afternoon through the NHLPA, however, Torres did release a brief statement on his playoff-ending ban from hockey.
“My main concern is for the healthy recovery of Marian Hossa, and I hope that he will be able to get back on the ice to compete again soon. I sincerely regret injuring Marian.
Regarding the severity of the suspension issued, I will take the next few days to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.”
Torres does have the right to appeal his suspension, but should he do that his appeal won’t be heard by the man who suspended him today, Brendan Shanahan, but instead by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The chances that Bettman would go against a ruling handed down by another member of the NHL offices would seem slim.
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On the ruling, Shanahan pointed out Torres broke three separate rules during his hit on Hossa, a play that went without a penalty called during the game.