Is Torres’ elbow on Ference suspension-worthy?

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That’s the big question coming out of Boston today after Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres drilled B’s defenseman Andrew Ference last night. Here’s the hit (and subsequent response from Adam McQuaid):

Over at NESN.com, John Beattie posted a compelling frame-by-frame breakdown of the incident. It provides some pretty damning evidence — Torres appears to abandon possession/pursuit of the puck and makes Ference’s head the principal point of contact.

And while he appears to lead with his shoulder, Torres’ follow-through involves an awful lot of elbow.

The aftermath of the play was a two-minute elbowing minor and five-minute fighting major for Torres (negated by McQuaid’s two-minute instigator and five-minute fighting major). There’s no word yet if the hit is being reviewed by NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan, but Torres’ history would seemingly warrant a second look.

He was suspended four games (two regular season, two playoff) last year for hitting Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle in the head and found himself embroiled in controversy after laying this hit on Chicago’s Brent Seabrook:

Torres received a two-minute interference penalty on the Seabrook hit, but wasn’t fined or suspended.