Raffi Torres’ 25-game suspension is one of the longest in the history of the NHL, so there’s not much to compare it with. However, one that comes to mind is Matt Cooke’s punishment for elbowing Ryan McDonagh last season. For his actions, Cooke was suspended for the final 10 regular season games and the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Cooke promised to change following that suspension and for the most part, he has succeeded. He went from spending 129 minutes in the sin bin in 2010-11 to recording just 44 penalty minutes in 82 games this season. At the same time, he posted career-highs with 19 goals and 38 points.
Cooke acknowledged that longer suspensions do send a message.
“Yeah. I think messages are sent through suspensions for sure. I guess it’s how it’s perceived,” Cooke said.
So will Torres get the message or will it fall on deaf ears? He will almost certainly get another chance next season.
In a major ruling, the NHL has suspended Phoenix’s Raffi Torres 25 games for his illegal check to the head of Chicago’s Marian Hossa.
The hit left Hossa on the ice and in need of a stretcher and a trip to the hospital. Hossa has not returned to action and remains out with what’s believed to be a concussion.
Torres’ past transgressions, including three offenses this season, worked against him.
In a statement, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan said Torres knew Hossa was no longer in possession of the puck on the play, as he took a swipe at it with his stick before leaping into Hossa to deliver a head shot. Shanahan noted Torres violated three rules on the play — interference, charging, and Rule 48 for an illegal check to the head — as well as Torres’ reputation as “a repeat offender as defined by the CBA.”
Since he’s already served one game of his in Thursday’s Game 4 — a 3-2 Coyotes victory — the 25-game ban means Torres is done for this year’s playoffs.
Should Phoenix go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and go seven games in all their series played, that would equal 25 games. Any games not served in the postseason will carry over to next year. Should that happen, Torres won’t be allowed to play in the preseason either.
Here’s Shanahan with his explanation of his decision.
From Adam Jahns, here’s the back page of today’s Chicago Sun-Times:
Torres, of course, annihilated Chicago forward Marian Hossa during Tuesday’s Game 3, which the Coyotes went on to win 3-2 in overtime.
Hossa has been ruled out of Game 4, but the ‘Hawks aren’t offering much else in the way of a status update.
Here’s the latest from the Sun-Times:
“There’s no change,” Quenneville said. “I spoke to him [Wednesday]. He’s probably felt the same way the past few days.”
Quenneville also wouldn’t forecast Hossa’s availability. Right now, he’s at home resting after being hospitalized after getting hit in the head by Raffi Torres in the first period of Game 3.
“I’m not going to go out any further than where we’re at today,” Quenneville said.
The Hawks, though, have said it’s been good to communicate with Hossa since seeing him carried off on a stretcher and hospitalized after the hit.
“He’s texting all the boys back, so he’s pretty busy with his phone now,” Jonathan Toews said. “I don’t want to keep him too busy. You want him to rest and relax. But by the sound of it, he’s getting better as the day goes on.”
Torres won’t play tonight as he’s suspended indefinitely pending Friday’s hearing with NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan. Rookie Brandon Saad will draw in for Hossa, while Marc-Antoine Pouliot will replace Torres in the Coyotes lineup.
After Raffi Torres crushed Marian Hossa with a brutal illegal check that went unpenalized while Hossa was sent to the hospital, the aftermath of that has created a firestorm within the media.
Torres’ checkered history of illegal hits, with most targeting the head, is well known. We’ve seen him scrutinized by the league three times this season already, getting fined once and suspended, as well as in last year’s playoffs and it appears everyone has about had it with him.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet calls Torres “hockey’s biggest punk” saying that Torres never learns from his misgivings and will only be out there to do it again in the future making yet another team regret signing him in the first place.
On Tuesday night Torres claimed the belt, as well as his latest victim, with a typically predatory hit on Hossa. It was like so many others by Torres, who floats from team to team to team, each one pleased that they’ve picked up “a game-changer,” then liking themselves even more when they part ways, deciding that their organization is better than that.
Meanwhile, both Damien Cox of the Toronto Star and Renaud Lavoie of RDS in Quebec (French) were quick to refer to Torres as the league’s new version of the old Matt Cooke. Not the reformed guy we’ve seen this year, but the guy who was suspended for 17-games last year.
The criticisms of Torres are harsh, but they’re also mostly spot on. If there’s anyone in the league meant to be a candidate to be forcefully educated by the league to clean up their game, the way Cooke was, it’s Torres. Question is: Will the league step in and do something along those lines?
Now that Matt Cooke is seemingly cleaning up his act, Raffi Torres might be the NHL’s new poster child for recidivist dirty hitting. Time and time again the Phoenix Coyotes forward bends or breaks the rules and it doesn’t seem like he’s learning from his “mistakes.” Brendan Shanahan & Co. handed him a two-game suspension for his hit on Nate Prosser of the Minnesota Wild.
After making some strong statements with lengthy suspensions during the preseason, there’s a growing sentiment that the NHL’s disciplinary policies are as random and toothless as ever. Many might point to Torres’ bad deeds (not to mention Daniel Carcillo’s antics, which we’ll touch on later) as one of the most plaguing examples.
What do you think? Did Torres deserve more or less of a punishment or did Shanahan get it just right?