Some athletes just will never learn the difference between aggression and violence. The best way to teach them is to slap them with lengthy suspensions and hefty fines.
For Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes, that means a 25-game suspension for his hit on the Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa. It is a well-deserved punishment for a repeat offender and a lifetime goon.
For the ironically named Metta World Peace, a suspension will be forthcoming as well. Hopefully, it will be a big one. I think it would be appropriate if he sits 10 to 15 games.
Let's put these two dirty plays side-to-side, starting with Torres's, and determine which one was more severe.
Torres left his feet to hit a player who didn't have the puck in the head. That's unacceptable on three fronts.
But it was a hockey play, even if it was a dirty and illegal one. It occurred within the flow of the game, and though it was poor judgment by Torres, you will see a peel-back hit like that happen from time-to-time.
But Torres deserved the suspension he received nonetheless. He's a repeat offender, and he provided the perfect storm for the NHL and Brendan Shanahan to send a message in what has been a rather violent postseason.
Torres took out one of the Chicago Blackhawks best players in Hossa, who had to be taken away on a stretcher. Since suspensions have been doled out in part due to whether or not the play in question caused injury, it's no surprise Torres got hammered.
But, just as importantly, the play created even more bad publicity for the league, and they had to put their foot down.
Had it been a player with a lesser history of dirty play, the suspension would not have been 25 games. But history catches up with us all, and in this case, Torres's history as a goon came back to haunt him.
Metta World Peace
What the hell was he thinking?
This didn't come in the midst of a rebound, or in a scrap between the two players where tempers between the pair were high.
Nope, World Peace threw an elbow at James Harden after a routine dunk for absolutely no reason at all.
In the real world, that's called assault.
Metta World Peace is a joke. He's a sideshow, a loose cannon that can't be expected to control his own emotions or aggression. Instead of adding anything to the game, he constantly finds a way to take away the integrity and dignity of the sport.
Under no circumstance is what he did acceptable. Truly, if the NBA simply banned him for the remainder of the regular and postseason, I'd be fine with it. It simply isn't acceptable to toss elbows around like that and inflict damage for no reason.
Again, if he and Harden had been scrapping and things got intense between the two and that happened, it would be different. Harden would have helped to escalate the situation, and while throwing an elbow at someone else's face is never tolerable, it would have been more understandable.
But this was deplorable. He can give himself a new name or claim he's changed all he wants—World Peace remains the black eye of the NBA.
Torres's hit was undoubtedly more dangerous. He approached Hossa at full speed, leveling the entirety of his weight into him as his shoulder drove into his chin.
But World Peace's hit was more astonishing. He just threw an elbow at the side of James Harden's head, seemingly for no reason. Maybe the two were getting chippy before that, but that simply doesn't warrant going Jon Jones on someone.
So Torres wins for the blatant disregard to another man's well-being he displayed. And World Peace wins for the sheer insanity and inexplicable nature of his action.
And the NHL and NBA loses for both.
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