Raffi Torres was suspended longer for his hit on Marian Hossa in the first round of this year's playoffs longer than all but Chris Simon's 30-game suspension in 2007. Now Torres and the NHLPA are going to appeal the 25-game suspension that will almost assuredly carry over into next season.
Like any appeal of a ruling from Brendan Shanahan, the ruling will be made by none other than Gary Bettman, the man who employs Shanahan and defends his decisions at almost every turn. But you suppose the glimmer of hope rests in the details, on what grounds he's appealing.
Elliotte Friedman of CBC explains the thinking of Torres.
Apparently, is not arguing the fact he was disciplined, but saying 25 games was "excessive"...CBA says discipline needs to be enforced in...— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 3, 2012
a "consistent" manner and question will be was his suspension consistent with others? (More)— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 3, 2012
Well if that is the ground then I suppose it's worth a shot. But this touches on something I've mentioned before: It's hard to find consistency with the three-pronged criteria Shanahan uses in his suspensions. It's so incredibly rare that one case is the same as the next.
You end up comparing apples to apricots. In Shanahan's time there has been no player who has come before him in a hearing that had the kind of rap sheet as Torres did. It was also one of the more injurious hits Shanahan has ruled on. Even though we haven't heard much as to what happened to Hossa, it's safe to say that if the Blackhawks had advanced instead of the Coyotes he wouldn't be playing.
Consistency is chucked out the window like a cigarette butt on the highway. It's useless.
Plus, don't forget the added dynamic of the NHL owning the Coyotes. By that I mean the other 29 owners in the NHL each own a part of that franchise right now. Bettman responds to these owners. There was already a stink when Phoenix GM Don Maloney was allowed to add a little payroll at the trade deadline, imagine if a suspension for a player on that team was shortened while the team is still alive in the playoffs?
So to sum it all up for Torres: Good luck, you're going to need it.
If nothing else, though, this will hopefully be the impetus to raise the appeals process in the CBA negotiations this summer. It's pretty absurd and the players are given no chance when the appeal is going to the boss of the man of who made the suspension in the first place. Talk about a loaded deck.