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Raffi Torres receives four-game suspension for hit on Jordan Eberle, including two playoff games

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At this point, the gang at PHT – along with countless fans, writers and other people who follow the sport – have gone beyond the point of being flabbergasted with the NHL’s rulings on fines and suspensions. The latest blind dart throw comes in relation to the four-game suspension the NHL handed to Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres for his brutal hit to the head on Edmonton Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle.

This means that Torres will be forced to sit out Vancouver’s last two regular season games and two playoff games for his irresponsible action.

The fact that he won’t play in two games that actually matter softens the blow of what I think is an insufficient penalty. If you ask me, this hit was one of the worst types: an absolutely unnecessary hit to the head that clearly could have been avoided. It’s obvious that Torres had no interest in getting the puck in this exchange, making it tough (though still possible) to argue against the possibility that it was a malicious hit. The fact that he was so ready to drop his gloves after delivering that sickening check indicates two things: he either has a great sense of hearing or knew what he did would generate an appropriately angry response. Or both, I guess.

(To be fair, hard hits are often countered with fights, even if they are legal.)

Perhaps the only good news is that Eberle told reporters he isn’t experiencing any linger effects from that check.

People can go back and forth about whether or not Torres it was a blind side hit/elbow, but either way, this is the kind of behavior the NHL needs to eliminate. Honestly, a Matt Cooke-inspired first round suspension would have been just fine with me, even if Torres lacks the kind of resume of nonsense Cooke brings to the table.

Take a look at the hit and decide for yourself if the NHL made the right call.

Raffi Torres lays out Jordan Eberle with shot to the head

Vancouver Canucks v Atlanta Thrashers

Looking over the 9-game NHL schedule, the Vancouver Canucks trek to Edmonton to take on the Oilers may have been the least important game on the docket. It should have been just a routine game with the Canucks fine-tuning their game for the playoffs while the Oilers just continued to play out the string. But then Raffi Torres delivered a brutal shot to Jordan Eberle’s head and all the sudden, everything got a little more serious.

Torres received five minutes for elbowing, five minutes for the following fight, a game misconduct, and possibly much more tomorrow. Here is the video of the questionable hit and the commentary from the boys over on NHL On The Fly:

It’ll be interesting to see what the league does with this type of hit. Torres ignores the puck and makes principle contact with Jordan Eberle’s head. However, whether he elbows Eberle is up for debate. Some will say he led with the elbow and others will say he kept the elbow in when he delivered the hit. Also, it’s debatable whether it’s a blindside Rule 48 hit because Eberle sees the check coming at the last minute. Herein lies the problem: if it’s not an elbowing call and if it’s not a Rule 48 hit, then how would Colin Campbell suspend Torres?

Clearly, the NHL will take a long look at this hit for the simple reason that Torres was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to the head. Just from a quick look at the hit, it’s the type of thing the league is trying to get out of the game. Headshots are the buzzword of the moment and this was a shot to the head. Going further, this is a specific example why some of the GMs would like to see all headshots banned from the game. It wouldn’t matter if it Torres led with his elbow and it wouldn’t matter if it was from the blindside—a headshot is an illegal headshot. Simple as that.

How did you see the hit? Did the officials get it right on the ice when they called it an elbow? More importantly, do you think Torres deserves a suspension for his hit?

Raffi Torres, Mathieu Garon and Jaroslav Halak earn this week’s three stars


The NHL named its three stars of the week for November 1-7: Raffi Torres, Mathieu Garon and Jaroslav Halak. Let’s take a look at each player’s productivity with comments from the league’s press release and our own feedback.

First Star: Raffi Torres (LW, Vancouver)

Torres led the NHL in goals (five) and was second in points (six) for the week as the Canucks (8-3-2) recorded four victories to take over first place in the Northwest Division.

He scored six of his nine points on the season last week, with a hat trick against his former team (the Edmonton Oilers) being the highlight. It seems like Torres is developing some nice chemistry with solid two-way forward Manny Malhotra.

Torres might not go much higher than his personal best of 27-goals, but honestly, if he hits 20 the Canucks will be pretty happy with the rugged forward.

Mathieu Garon

Garon stopped 75 of 78 shots he faced, posting back-to-back shutouts, a 2-1-0 record, a 1.01 goals-against average and .962 save percentage as Columbus improved to 8-5-0 overall.

Garon earned half of the Blue Jackets’ wins this season (starter Steve Mason is 4-4) and seems to be in a similar situation as Brent Johnson in Pittsburgh right now. He’s outplaying his higher profile starter as a backup, but if this keeps up, the starts will be handed out far more evenly.

Jaroslav Halak

The former Montreal Canadiens playoff hero is backing up his name-making performances by helping the St. Louis Blues take an early lead over the Detroit Red Wings in the Central Division. In fact, this isn’t his first three stars award of the 2010-11 season.

Halak stopped 58 of 59 shots he faced, posting a 2-0-0 record, a 0.48 goals-against average and .983 save percentage as St. Louis improved to 9-1-2, first overall in the NHL standings.

His overall record is 8-1-1, earning three shutouts while putting up a 1.46 GAA and an outstanding 94.4 save percentage this season. It should be a tough November for St. Louis, so he might not put up the numbers to earn another award this month, but if they win more often than not then he’ll be just as valuable.