Raffi Torres to appeal 25-game suspension for hitting Marian Hossa in the headContinue reading.
Raffi Torres gets 25-game suspension for hit on Marian Hossa
By Ben Meyer-Abbott
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Raffi Torres‘ postseason is over.
Torres will miss at least the remainder of the playoffs, and mostly likely several games at the start of next season after he was suspended 25 games by the NHL on Saturday for his vicious headshot on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Blackhawks’ first-round series with the Phoenix Coyotes.
If the full suspension is not served by the end of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the remaining games will carry over to next season. It will cost Torres $21,341 in salary for every regular-season game he misses.
The suspension handed down by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan is the longest postseason ban in league history and is tied for the second longest suspension ever in the NHL.
“It a precedent,” Hawks forward and 13-year veteran Brendan Morrison said. “We’ve been talking about it so long, over the course of the past couple years there has been more suspensions, but the message isn’t getting through to guys. I don’t know how it can’t get through after this.”
Said Hawks winger Andrew Brunette: “At one point here we got to get the memo.”
Torres skated half the length of the ice at the United Center midway through the first period in Game 3 on Tuesday to deliver the shoulder-to-head hit on Hossa.
Hossa lay motionless on the ice for several minutes following the hit before being taken off in a stretcher. He was taken in an ambulance to the hospital before being released a few hours later.
Torres did not address the media Saturday, but issued a statement:
“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.”
Hossa missed Game 4 for the Hawks and did not travel with the team to Arizona for Game 5.
Torres called the hit “just a hockey play” after Game 3, but Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said before Game 5 on Saturday that he suspects Torres might want to reconsider his characterization.
“He’s going to have to live with that and I’m sure the length of a suspension like that would make any player rethink their reaction,” Toews said. “Maybe he doesn’t think it’s such a normal hockey play anymore.”
After Torres was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday, the Coyotes knew they were going to be without him for some time. But Saturday at morning skate before Game 5 defenseman Derek Morris said they were shocked at the length of the ban.
“I was definitely surprised. I didn’t think [the hit] was that extreme. But that’s the way they’re calling them,” Morris said.
In his video explanation, Shanahan state Torres violated three NHL rules on the play and was aware that Hossa no longer had the puck.
“It is clear that he sees Hossa is no longer in possession of the puck because Torres takes a one-handed swipe at it with his stick,” Shanahan said. “Torres then leaps into the air and drives his left shoulder into Hossa’s. This is a violation of three NHL rules: interference, charging and illegal check to the head.”
Even before the hit, Torres had a history of high hits and suspensions, which Shanahan said it played a role in the length of the suspension.
The hit came exactly a year to the day when, as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, he used his shoulder to deliver a hit to the head of Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 3 of the Hawks-Canucks first-round series in 2011 playoffs.
Torres received a minor penalty for his hit on Seabrook in last year’s playoffs. Seabrook suffered a concussion on the play, but Torres was not suspended.