Report: Torres, NHLPA to appeal 25-game suspension

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According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres and the National Hockey League Players Association will appeal his 25-game suspension for hitting Chicago’s Marian Hossa.

(Sportsnet’s Darren Millard notes the appeal challenges suspension length, not the suspension itself.)

The ban was issued on Apr. 21 by NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan and later that day, Torres released a statement through the NHLPA stating he would “take the next few days to decide whether or not to appeal the decision.”

Shortly thereafter, Brough wrote the following:

The risk for the PA should it decide to appeal is considerable. For the past two weeks, the NHL has been lambasted by fans and media for its failure to apply tough justice. An appeal would put the union right in the same cross-hairs. And with the upcoming CBA negotiations, the last thing it’ll want to do is get on the wrong side of the public.

The NHLPA walks a very fine line in these situations. On the one hand, it’s obligated to defend members who it feels are treated unfairly by the league. In the Torres case, the word “scapegoat” comes to mind.

On the other hand, what about Hossa? Isn’t he a member as well?

Torres has already missed six games and since the Coyotes can’t be eliminated before Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal, he’s guaranteed to miss at least another three — bringing his minimum number of games served to nine.

Like all appeals, Torres’ will be heard by league commissioner Gary Bettman.