Raffi Torres Suspension: NHL Violence Will Not Deter Hockey Fans
The NHL playoffs are perennially hard-hitting, but the 2012 iteration is bringing negative publicity to one of the greatest postseasons in sports. The Raffi Torres suspension will hardly keep even fairweather fans from tuning in.
The Phoenix Coyotes' Raffi Torres is the latest hockey star to be suspended for an awful hit that left another player on the ice.
The play came at 11:51 in the first period when Torres seemed to leap into Hossa, who had since released the puck.
Hossa went down and had to be carted off the ice, making an egregious hit all the more disturbing. The Blackhawks forward left to the hospital and was released later that night.
This is hardly the only mark of violence in the playoffs. Tenacity is ratcheted up to a whole new level in the postseason, making a run to the Stanley Cup trying and very tough on the body and mind.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been hit hard by suspensions during their fierce battle with bitter rival Philadelphia Flyers.
Pittsburgh is down three men after Arron Asham and James Neal were suspended for hits, and Craig Adams received an automatic one-game suspension for instigating a fight.
NHL COO John Collins is weary of all the bad publicity and stated as much recently via Globe and Mail.
Will violence deter fans?
They're paying us a lot of money to associate with our brand. So when our brand is under attack in the press on issues as serious as player safety, they want to know that the league is on top of it and has a plan for dealing with it and hear the league articulate it. That feedback is always going to be there.
First off, there is no place for overt violence that has no measure of legitimacy in the realm of competition.
However, I just don't see how this will deter a nation that is sadly attracted to such things. NASCAR crashes, hard hits in the NFL and on-the-field brawls in MLB are must-see fodder for the masses.
We hear about some hit and then rush to see if there is video on the play.
Something must be done to quell violence, simply from a healthy and safety point of view, but the constant instances of hard hits will, unfortunately, only help viewership.
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