NHL Playoffs 2012: Why Raffi Torres Should Not Be Suspended Long-Term
Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals laid an absolutely vicious hit on Marian Hossa. Hossa laid on the ice for several minutes, and was carried off on a stretcher. He spent a few hours in the hospital before being released, but will not play in Game 4.
Torres received no penalty for the play, and per ESPN, will be suspend indefinitely until his hearing on Friday. I believe that Torres should not be suspended long-term.
Now before you get out your torches and pitchforks, at least hear me out.
The play in question was a bang-bang play. Both players were moving extremely fast, as Hossa was trying to move the puck back up the ice, and Torres was backchecking before he went to hit Hossa. Both players were going fast, and fast players will result in big hits that could leave players injured. That's just the way the game is.
Hossa also made a terrible decision in putting his head down head down.
Torres had committed to the hit right before Yandle poked the puck away. Hossa, instead of looking up ice to continue on his offensive push, turns his head around to watch the puck go backwards. He puts himself in a vulnerable position, which Torres takes advantage of, regardless of if he meant to or not. Part of the blame needs to be put on Hossa for putting himself in the position to be injured.
Even though those are reasons why Torres should not be suspended, there are still more persuasive arguments in favor of suspension.
For example, Torres left his feet on the play. Shanahan has made it clear that these hits are not to be in the game anymore, and he will make an example of Torres. Torres also elbowed Hossa, a main proponent for concussions in the league. Shanny wants those gone from the game and will make sure to show that on the suspension video.
Blackhawk fans particularly dislike Torres because he laid an illegal hit on Brent Seabrook last season in the playoffs, which also resulted in a suspension. Torres, thus, is considered a repeat offender. Shanahan will use this knowledge to help him make a decision.
I believe that Torres should get three games for his suspension. One for the elbow, one for him leaving his feet and one for the repeat offender/injury to Hossa. Three games is plenty for the postseason. Three games is enough to change the complete dynamics of a series, but it would still give the team a fighting chance without feeling shafted by the league.
If there were hitting coaches in the league to actually teach players how to hit, this hit would not have happened. But it did, and Torres will suffer the consequences. With the reaction of the Madison Madhouse crowd along with the disproportionate amount of games for each suspension dished out so far this postseason, Torres will undoubtedly get more games than he deserved.
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