25 Games For Raffi Torres

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.

  • Oilers4ever

    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….

  • 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.

  • Reg Dunlop

    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.

  • Willi P

    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)

    • DCR

      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.

  • 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.