When are the dirty hits going to stop?
Instead of talking about how awesome the postseason has been thus far, we instead need to address the actions of goons like Arron Asham and now Raffi Torres, the latest player to levy an unnecessary and dirty hit against an opponent.
Here's the hit the Phoenix Coyotes' forward leveled on Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. You can judge whether or not you think it is dirty, though I'll make the case after the video for why Torres deserves at least a four-game suspension for this play.
Thankfully, it looks like Torres is in line for a long suspension—he's been suspended indefinitely until a hearing takes place on Friday.
Thus far, suspensions have been handed out with a few particulars given extra consideration:
- Was the hit directed at a player's head?
- Was the player hurt on the play and likely to miss any time?
- Does the culprit have a history of suspensions?
I don't agree with how Brendan Shanahan has handled suspensions this postseason—dirty hits should be punished regardless of injury—and you can read more about that here if you so desire. But by the above standards, Torres is in a lot of trouble.
Torres not only led with his shoulder driving into Hossa's chin, he blatantly left his feet while doing it. Not only that, but Hossa was not in possession of the puck when the hit occurred.
The fact that it wasn't called a penalty on the ice is absolutely ridiculous.
That's one check against Torres.
Hossa had to be taken off of the ice on a stretcher, though thankfully he was released from the hospital last evening. It was a scary scene.
Oh, and it won't help Torres' cause that commissioner Gary Bettman was in the stands for the game or that the footage of Hossa being taken off the ice on a stretcher has received a ton of national press.
Throw a few more checks against Torres.
Of course, he's used to finding himself in trouble. Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy laid out Torres' past infractions:
Torres is a repeat offender. He was fined $2,500 in December for elbowing Jan Hejda and suspended three days later for two games after charging Nate Prosser. You'll recall he was banned for the final two regular season games and two playoff games at the end of last season for elbowing Jordan Eberle in the head.
The league needs to send a message to Torres. I'm not sure four games is enough. All eyes are going to be on the league and how they handle this one, especially given how controversial some of the earlier punishments this postseason have been.
A message needs to be sent around the league, loud and clear—if you hit someone in a dirty manner, you are going to be severely punished. Some of these hits have been downright scary. You can clean up the game without sacrificing its integrity.
Goons like Torres don't seem to have a whole lot of integrity, however. Injuring another human apparently isn't a concern.
And frankly, it's despicable.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets light the lamp like Danny Briere.