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Canucks' Raffi Torres Facing a Suspension for Elbow on Oilers Jordan Eberle?

Raffi Torres
Raffi TorresRich Lam/Getty Images
Kevin WContributor IIApril 6, 2011

Vancouver Canucks forward Raffi Torres was assessed a game misconduct and a five-minute major penalty for elbowing Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle in the head at 13:05 of the third period.

Headshots and concussions are the hot button issues in the NHL right now, so immediately it raises the question of whether this warrants as suspension.

You can guarantee that any shot to the head will be looked at. This one will be no different.

However, I don't expect a suspension coming for Raffi Torres, who has a clean record with the National Hockey League and league disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

There is no doubt Torres made contact with the head of Eberle with his elbow, but he was not leading in with his elbow and did not target Eberle's head. The elbow was tucked in until contact was made.

The hit looked similar to the infamous Steve Moore hit on Markus Naslund.

Eberle was reaching for the puck and Torres caught him.

If you look at the recent suspensions for elbows to the head—namely Dany Heatley on Steve Ott and Matt Cooke on Ryan McDonagh—they targeted the head.

Both players stuck their elbows out to make contact with the head of the opposing player.

Torres intended to make a shoulder-to-shoulder hit and had his elbow tucked until the follow through after the hit was made.

Sportsnet West reporter Gene Principe reported on Twitter that Jordan Eberle had a mark on his left cheek, but otherwise was no worse for wear from that hit.

Injuries typically are weighed heavily in determining whether a player gets suspended or not. 

No suspension should be forthcoming if you consider the fact that Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro got no suspension for his hit on Los Angeles Kings centre Michal Handzus which was similar to Torres' hit.

The five minute major penalty and game misconduct did justice for the crime.

Kevin W is a featured columnist for the Vancouver Canucks on Bleacher Report and regularly blogs on his website, InsideCanucks.com. You can follow him at Twitter at @icanucks.

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