Saturday, April 21, 2012
Torres suspension sends a message
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- While the Boston Bruins were preparing for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, the NHL announced its 25-game suspension for the Phoenix Coyotes’ Raffi Torres.
Torres “launched himself to deliver a late hit to the head” of Chicago forward Marian Hossa during Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals on April 17.
“That’s a lot of games,” said Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot. “I haven’t really had time to think about it that much.”
When asked if the league’s decision will send a clear message, Pouliot said: “Yeah, for sure. No one wants to be suspended for 25 games and miss a good portion of the season. Players can see that [Brendan Shanahan] will do that and you don’t want to be in that boat, especially when you already did it once or twice. Raffi, it sucks for him, but you have to pay the consequences, I guess.”
Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations, released a statement explaining that Torres violated three NHL rules -- interference, charging and illegal hit to the head.
“In addition to the fact that three separate NHL rules were violated with this one hit, two other factors were critical in determining the appropriate length of suspension:
“First, this violent and dangerous hit caused a severe injury.
"Second, Torres not only is a repeat offender as defined by the CBA, his extensive supplemental discipline history consists mainly of acts very similar to this one -- including two this season.
“Despite knowing that Hossa no longer has the puck, Torres decides to finish his check past the amount of time when Hossa is eligible to be body-checked. That is a violation of the Interference rule.
“While we acknowledge the circumstances of certain hits may cause a player’s skates to come off the ice, on this hit Torres launches himself into the air before making contact. This is a violation of the charging rule.”