25 Games For Raffi Torres

Jonathan Willis
April 21 2012 10:14AM

The NHL has suspended Raffi Torres for 25 games as a result of his hit on Marian Hossa.

Ryan Batty, a writer for Copper & Blue, tweeted the following comment, which neatly encapsulated my own initial reaction:

25 games for Torres. Wow. If this is the NHL taking discipline serious great, if this is the NHL using him as a scapegoat not so great.

That’s the thing. I have no objection to a 25-game suspension for the type of hit that Torres threw, given the player’s track record and the injury sustained - if that’s the standard for players across the league. If Brendan Shanahan has decided that strict enforcement of this sort of hit is the way to go, I think that’s an entirely defensible position and one that will help reduce concussions around the league.

If, however, this is simply a one-time suspension to throw a bone to people concerned about concussions, it’s more difficult to justify. The NHL – even under Shanahan – has not enforced a consistent standard for these sorts of hits. Raffi Torres has a long track record of iffy hits, hammered a star player in a major market, is not a star player himself, plays in the NHL’s most insignificant market, and was roundly vilified by fans and the press prior to this suspension being announced. In short, he’s the perfect target for a massive suspension.

My hope is that this is the start of a more consistently vigilant Department of Player Safety. My fear is that the NHL’s hammering an easy target and will instead slink away when something else – say, Milan Lucic running Ryan Miller, or Shea Weber grabbing Henrik Zetterberg’s head and smashing it into the glass, or one of a hundred other things – happens. As it is, this is a hard suspension to reconcile with the NHL’s previous decisions. That doesn’t make it the wrong decision, unless it remains hard to reconcile with future decisions.

I strongly suspect that this is a one-off.  If it is, then the NHL made the wrong call.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 mlcselli
April 21 2012, 03:24PM
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I agree that Torres is a predatory player but, regardless of how many times he's been disciplined, or the length of his suspension, Torres will not change his style. I'm sure he's pissed off with his suspension and will not think he was given a fair sentence. I think he will probably compare the way he was handled to the way others have been handled, and believe he came out on the worse end of the stick. If Raffe didn't get a suspension, and if the Coyotes continue into the playoffs, Raffe would continue trying to take players out of the game, because that's what predators do. I think that his suspension was the right call only because Torres is a repeat offender and still doesn't seem like he is willing to conform, however there needs to be a written list of automatic consequences as to what to expect for particular infractions.

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#52 Quicksilver ballet
April 21 2012, 03:39PM
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They're obviously making an effort to make this a kinder gentler game so they can soon have women playing the NHL.

25 games for that! what a farce.

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#53 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 21 2012, 04:08PM
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@ilovetorres

sarcasm?

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#54 Tyler
April 21 2012, 04:25PM
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I'm surprised thought he would get 26 games

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#55 michael
April 21 2012, 05:01PM
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Reactive not Proactive. Torres can go home and pack his bags and hit the golf courses early this year. He has 1 year left on his contract. The Yotes move to QC this summer will see an end to Raffi Torres affiliation with this franchise. For those of you who believe that some idiot is going to come along and buy the Yotes for 80 million dollars think again. The NHL needs to get its money back on this dog and the best move it could make would to move this team lock stock and barrel to Le Colisse for the next 2 years. Handing over the keys to Quebecor will ensure a return on the NHL's investment and more money to the league in the next 5 years.Goodbye Raffi. It was nice knowin ya.

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#56 Travis Dakin
April 21 2012, 05:10PM
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April 21, 2012:

The day hitting died in the NHL

Great day for the danglers. On the plus side, I guess I feel less worried about the small Oilers getting hurt now.

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#57 Dog Train
April 21 2012, 05:34PM
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They finally cracked down on Cooke and he learned his lesson. They let Raffi's garbage go for too long and he just kept doing it. Whether or not he changes his style will depend on the leadership in the Coyotes' organization as Cooke had leaders like Lemieux sitting him down and making him see the light.

Hitting is not dead. Why do you need to jump to hit somebody? Hossa should be more careful the next time that he thinks about cutting back against the grain but a solid clean hit would have done the trick. It's not like Hossa is 5'8 or anything. He's 6'1.

This suspension was too easy for the NHL to make. I think it was the right call but I still don't know how smashing somebody's face into the boards for no reason after the game is over and your team won is not worthy of a suspension. Double standard for stars and scapegoats.

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#58 JackBauer
April 21 2012, 05:40PM
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Until they start dishing out suspensions like this on a regular basis for hit equally as cheap and dirty, nothing will change.

This league is gutless except when it comes time to throw the book at a nobody.

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#59 NuckfiSh
April 21 2012, 06:31PM
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Idono if it's been said or not, but this stinks of 'political' corruption to me...

the Coyotes don't have an owner. Raffi Torres doesn't have an owner to have his back...

In most cities, like Chicago, Boston, or even Nashville, when a player does something wrong there is a powerful owner or ownership group behind the scene pulling strings to get a lighter sentence. In this case, Raffi's ass is owned by the NHL, and thus he has nobody to go to bat for him at NHL head-office... The very people who cut his paycheck, are the ones suspending him, and I think it stinks.

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#60 Bucknuck
April 21 2012, 08:06PM
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The number 25 is so that he doesn't play anymore in the playoffs no matter what. If the series goes seven that's four more games, and if they go seven in three more series that is 21.

21+4 = 25. They just don't want him to play anymore playoff hockey this year. It's not a random number.

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#61 Oilers4ever
April 21 2012, 09:50PM
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Disagree on it being the wrong call... Raffi has always been in my mind a dirty player who has never received proper punishment for his actions... I never liked him as an Oiler and I don't care for his hockey style now. Say what you want about having players on your team that the opposition loves to hate because you do need to have those agitators. But if they can't play clean and they make dirty, intentional hits to injure, which this hit was, then there is no place for that type of player in this league. If 25 games doesn't get to his head then nothing will. And if does something like that again after this suspension then ban the bum for life....

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#62 PaperDesigner
April 21 2012, 10:56PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Wow. I think the NHL just added together the totals they SHOULD have handed out to the other culprits and gave them all to Torres.

What a joke. Seriously.

Looks like Raffi Torres had a bad spin on... the NHL WHEEL OF JUSTICE:

http://www.nhlwheelofjustice.com/

Maybe there's more to this than meets the eye. Maggie the Monkey hasn't been seen on TSN in a while--maybe she was appropriated by the NHL to do secret work for the NHL, with Brendan Shannahan serving as a mere human figurehead? I think there's a very good conspiracy theory underneath all this...

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#63 common sense
April 22 2012, 01:22AM
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The decision reeks of overreaction PR move. Torres gets more punishment than the average aggravated assault convict in the Canadian criminal justice system. Funny how the globe is commenting on many Nucks players stating that the punishment is too severe but the Hawk players are all over Torres. Not saying Torres is Mama Angel but you know behind closed doors the NHL brass is loving all the hitting and the headhunting and the high ratings but superficially this calms all those bleeding heart pacifists.

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#64 Reg Dunlop
April 22 2012, 01:46AM
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What was the difference between Torres and Neil on Boyle? I don't see much difference, honestly both hits were brutal but playoff hockey can be brutal. Neither hit should be suspension fodder. Fines at the most.

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#65 Romanus
April 22 2012, 02:39AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

They're obviously making an effort to make this a kinder gentler game so they can soon have women playing the NHL.

25 games for that! what a farce.

They are switching to sponge pucks next year also.

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#66 Willi P
April 22 2012, 07:07AM
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Many are bringing up the Weber incident on Z. I agree that this was a suspendable hit, however I don't think many saw what happened before Weber went nuts. Z tried and partially succeeded in a head shot on Weber. He reacted and I think that was why he was not suspended. I didn't hear the Shanny report but would guess that Z's actions before hand had a part to play. Same goes with the Keith hit on Sedin. In both cases, if you go after somebody's head and it is not called, what is a player supposed to do? Seems to me that Shanny is looking at the whole picture, at least in those two cases.

As for Torres, he should have received a major suspension in last years' playoff. He received nothing. He was due and if I am Shanny, I tell this clown, one more hit to the head, it's a year off (or more)

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#67 DCR
April 22 2012, 10:59AM
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Willi P wrote:

Many are bringing up the Weber incident on Z. I agree that this was a suspendable hit, however I don't think many saw what happened before Weber went nuts. Z tried and partially succeeded in a head shot on Weber. He reacted and I think that was why he was not suspended. I didn't hear the Shanny report but would guess that Z's actions before hand had a part to play. Same goes with the Keith hit on Sedin. In both cases, if you go after somebody's head and it is not called, what is a player supposed to do? Seems to me that Shanny is looking at the whole picture, at least in those two cases.

As for Torres, he should have received a major suspension in last years' playoff. He received nothing. He was due and if I am Shanny, I tell this clown, one more hit to the head, it's a year off (or more)

I see your point, I just don't agree with it.

I was watching the Nashville/Detroit game and I really don't think Z's actions justify Weber's even if they might explain them. Suspension isn't, or at least shouldn't be, a zero-sum game.

As for Daniel Sedin's hit on Duncan Keith, I've watched that one a lot of times, because it has been brought up so often and I just don't see it. Yes, Daniel's shoulder hit Duncan's head: but it wasn't the target or primary point of contact. It was also part of the play at the time.

Duncan Keith's hit on Daniel deliberately targeted the head, wasn't part of the play, and if anything was revenge, not reaction. Big difference.

The best you can say for Shanahan is that he's failing to provide the appearance of consistency.

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#68 Jasmine
April 22 2012, 03:28PM
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Where are all the suspensions that the Canucks have gotten away with. Edler, Burrows, Kesler, Weiss, Salo, etc. Refs have given Nuck players Game Misconducts and 5 minute majors, yet not once did they receive SD.

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