Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes has a long rap sheet in the NHL. He's no stranger to controversy both on and off the ice and has been routinely accused of being a dirty player. At the same time, the NHL has been derided for having a wishy-washy system for punishing aggressive play and determining how to discipline players who are intending to do harm to others. The current Stanley Cup playoffs have only brought this argument to the forefront, as there has been no shortage of questionable hits and injuries.
In Tuesday's opening-round playoff game between the Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks, Torres left his feet to deliver a shoulder to the head of Marian Hossa, who was no longer in possession of the puck. Torres then needed to be stretchered off the ice. Torres was not removed from the game, nor did he receive a penalty for the illegal hit. However, the NHL met to review the play and on Saturday announced that Torres would be suspended 25 games as a result of the hit.
released the following video, outlining the reasoning for the suspension and the rules broken with Torres' hit on Hossa., NHL Director of Player Safety,
The suspension is a big statement by the NHL and hopefully will serve as a warning for the rest of the playoffs that they intent to take these brutal hits seriously. This marks the longest postseason suspension since 1993, when Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals was suspended in Game 7 of the opening round against the New York Islanders. Although the Capitals had already been eliminated from the playoffs following that Game 7, Hunter was suspended for the first 21 games of the 1993-94 regular season. This is also the longest suspension that has been handed out since Shanahan has been in charge of player safety.
Even if the Coyotes make it to the Stanley Cup finals and each of their playoff series goes the full seven games, Torres would still miss the entire 2012 postseason.
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