Raffi Torres' 25-game suspension has been trimmed by four games, the NHL announced Monday. He'll serve eight more games of the suspension next season.
Torres was handed the suspension after a brutal hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during the Western Conference Quarterfinals in April. He served 13 games against the suspension during the Phoenix Coyotes playoff run and had 12 games remaining on the ban prior to the decision from Commissioner Gary Bettman. In early May, Torres appealed the original suspension handed out by Brendan Shanahan.
"This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League," Bettman said in a statement. "We have seen similar behavior before from Mr. Torres and, particularly given the league’s heightened scrutiny on hits to the head, I believe that a very significant penalty is warranted in this case. We hope and expect that the severity of this incident, and the league’s response to it, will help prevent any similar incident from occurring in the future."
Torres will be eligible to return to the Coyotes lineup on Nov. 2 when they visit the Ottawa Senators. He will still miss the entirety of the NHL preseason. He'll forfeit $170,731.68 in salary.
The timing of the NHL's decision is a bit curious as they embark in collective bargaining with the NHL Players' Association. It could be seen as a gesture of good will towards a union that feels the suspension appeal process is less than ideal.