Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 4/22/12
On Saturday, the NHL officially threw the book at Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres.
For his hit on Marian Hossa, the league suspended the repeat offender for 25 games, which takes care of at least the rest of the Coyotes' 2012 postseason.
Beyond the headline-grabbing game number, there were a number of key phrases and statement from Brendan Shanahan in his video explanation.
First, Shanahan's description the play can be viewed as nothing less than a direct indictment of the four on-ice officials that failed to call a single penalty on Torres for the play. As Shanahan said, "Torres launched himself to deliver a late, direct hit to the head." The league then indicates that Torres violated not one, but three separate rules on the hit: interference, charging and illegal check to the head.
And yet Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was fined $10,000 on Thursday afternoon for his comments about the officiating in the game.
Secondly, there is no question that Torres is being made an example for idiots everywhere. This is the largest suspension handed out in the last couple years for a hit to the head, easily surpassing the two suspensions adding up to 19 games Trevor Gillies received last year and Matt Cooke's eye-opening suspension of 10 regular season games plus the first round of the playoffs from the end of last year.
From the NHL statement:
Torres will be prohibited from playing in any preseason games until he hasThe video points out five instances of Torres targeting a players' head, and that doesn't include the hit that concussed Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, which came exactly one year to the day before the Hossa hit.
served this 25-game suspension (playoff and regular-season games).
Should the suspension carry over to next season, because he is
classified as a repeat offender under the Collective Bargaining Agreement,
Torres will forfeit $21,341.46 in salary for every regular-season game in
which he is ineligible to play.
Torres is the definition of repeat offender, and has been called a dirty player by fans in almost every city in the league. And despite the general manager, head coach and a number of teammates making public statements that Torres was "simply finishing his check," the league leaves no wiggle room with their statement about the reality of the hit.
Finally, something that may have been overlooked because of the statements made about Torres was the wording Shanahan used when adding two final pieces of evidence to the case against Torres. He says "this violent and dangerous hit caused a severe injury." And, at the conclusion and summary portion of the video, Shanahan uses the word "major" when describing Hossa's injuries.
Chicago has not said much of anything about Hossa since their press release indicating that he left the hospital around the time Game Three ended on Tuesday night. Quenneville has consistently has said there has been no change in Hossa's status; the rest of the world has simply assumed he was concussed.
Shanahan and the league office know more specifics about the injury suffered on the play by Hossa, one of arguably the best all-around forwards in the game. In light of the time missed by Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and others in recent seasons, one can only hope Hossa will be able to return at some point in the future.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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