Raffi Torres suspended 25 games for hit on Marian Hossa
Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes, suspended indefinitely for his hit on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of their playoff series with the Chicago Blackhawks, has been suspended 25 games by the NHL.
The head of discipline in the NHL, Brendan Shanahan, explains the longest suspension of his tenure.
Torres released a statement later on Saturday, here it is in its entirety.
"My main concern is for the healthy recovery of Marian Hossa, and I hope that he will be able to get back on the ice to compete again soon. I sincerely regret injuring Marian.
"Regarding the severity of the suspension issued, I will take the next few days to decide whether or not to appeal the decision."
That wasn't Shanahan just throwing the book at him, that was throwing half of his personal library at Torres.
Shanahan explains that Torres broke not one but three rules on this one play, making it thrice as egregious. First, it was interference, the hit came well after Hossa had the puck and Torres obviously knew that as Shanny points out he tried to play the puck with one hand. Secondly, it was charging as he elevated in his skates before making contact. And third, obviously, it was a hit directly to the head.
At that point it came to the sentencing and when Shanahan added in the fact that Hossa was seriously injured on the play -- he missed Game 4 and won't play in Game 5 either. Then Shanahan got into Torres' extensive history with the department of player safety, including two incidents this season. He takes the time to break down each of the illegal hits that Torres has been punished for in the past in the video.
Eventually you end up with the recipe for a 25-game suspension.
This is more than double the longest suspension handed down by Shanahan in his first year on the job. You'll remember in the preseason he suspended James Wisniewski what amounted to 10 games (whth the remainder of the preseason factored in). Now, this guarantees that Torres won't play again this season for the Coyotes, even if they played seven-games series all the way through the Stanley Cup Final.
Whatever is not served in these playoffs -- one game is already down -- will carry over into the preseason and next season.
My first reaction to seeing this was pure shock. Not disappointment mind you, but shock. I didn't expect the NHL to get tough like this, but something was needed to send a very loud message that it has to stop and, as I had said before, Torres was the perfect sacrificial lamb to make that statement.
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