Raffi Torres: Mentality of Players Like Torres Must Be Eradicated from NHL

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks is moved off of the ice on a stretcher following a collison against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 17, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Coyotes defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Raffi Torres doesn't think he leveled a dirty hit on Marian Hossa. Torres thinks he was making a "hockey play."

If that's your idea of what hockey is, Mr. Torres, you are sorely mistaken. And your mentality—that dirty hits and playing like a goon are acceptable in the game—needs to be struck from the NHL immediately.

How leaving your feet and driving your shoulder under the chin of a player who wasn't in possession of the puck is a "hockey play" is news to me. However,  that's honestly what Torres believes, or at least what he said after the game.

Of course, the Chicago Blackhawks were having none of it, and I'm not either. First, the comments (via FOX News):

Torres, who wasn't available Wednesday, spoke after the game and said: "I felt like it was a hockey play. I was just trying to finish my hit out there."

The Blackhawks weren't buying it.

"In the history of the game, hitting is used to dislodge a player from the puck, not the intent to injure when you don't have the puck because you aren't aware. To me, that wasn't a hockey play," Blackhawks forward Andrew Brunette said. "When you don't have the puck, there shouldn't be that kind of contact."

Patrick Sharpe, for one, wasn't surprised Torres was the one behind the hit:

"There's only been one dirty hit in our series and you saw the same thing from that guy last year in the same series," Chicago's Patrick Sharp said. "You know it's coming. You try to warn your linemates and be aware when he's on the ice. He's got a history of targeting guys' heads and having questionable hits. It makes it that much more frustrating to see it happen, but we got to rally behind Hoss."

Checking and hard hits in the game are fine, but not for the sake of hurting someone. You hit to dislodge players from the puck, and send a physical message that you are there to play, in the process.

But you don't leave your feet, you don't hit guys in the middle of the ice who don't have the puck, and you don't go head-hunting.

It isn't acceptable.

Concussions are serious injuries. Enough of them can ruin a man's life down the road. To a certain extent, they are inevitable in such a physical game.

On the other hand, eliminating any dirty or unnecessary violent collisions wherever possible is a good thing. A concern for player safety isn't taking away the "manliness" of the game—it's humanizing it. It's taking care of the men who play the game we love.

I have no tolerance for players like Torres, Arron Asham, or Zac Rinaldo. I'm tired of goons existing in the NHL simply because they are goons.

It's time to eliminate these type of hits. Having to watch a player taken off the ice on a stretcher because of a dirty hit must be the final straw for these playoffs.

Suspend Torres for 10 games. Send a message, Brendan Shanahan. It's time the goons were truly held accountable.


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