NHL Suspends Raffi Torres for Four Games: Why They Got It Wrong

Joel ProsserCorrespondent IApril 7, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25: Raffi Torres #13 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Philips Arena on March 25, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Word has come down (via TSN) that Canucks winger Raffi Torres will be suspended for four games for his hit on Jordan Eberle during the Canucks/Oilers game last Tuesday.

The NHL got it wrong here.

I'm not going to rehash the hit in detail. You've all seen the video.  I've already written an article about the hit, and how both players share some responsibility for the situation.

But the NHL, by suspending Torres for the last two regular-season games and also the first two playoff games, is saying this is essentially a six-game suspension (playoff games generally being viewed as twice as valuable, if not more, than regular-season games for supplementary discipline).

Dany Heatley threw a vicious elbow on Steve Ott recently, and it was only worth two games.

Patric Hornqvist also recently threw an elbow intentionally into the face of Tyler Seguin and was only fined $2,500. No suspension was levied.

You could even go back to before the recent GM meetings and look at other hits that actually caused injury. For example, Ovechkin's dirty hit on Campbell that broke his collarbone. Two games.

Even excluding Eberle's role in playing the puck while in a vulnerable position, how exactly was this hit worth six games while those hits were worth two games or less?

The NHL blew the call (again) on a suspension. You never know what is going to come up when Campbell spins his wheel of morality and comes up with a random number.

Feel free to take a look at the list of suspensions levied in the 2010-2011 season to date. Take a look at all the ones for "hit to the head" that only got two or three games. Youtube a few if you want to refresh your memory.

Now take a look again at the Torres hit and try to justify how it was three times worse than those hits?

I can't see it, but I guess Campbell did.

Now, all that being said, I'd take everything back and applaud Campbell if this was the actual standard in the playoffs.

But we all know it won't be.

You get away with more in the playoffs, and the NHL is even more loathe to suspend. 

I'm willing to bet we see similar hits on the last weekend of the regular season, and there won't be any suspensions—in the playoffs as well.

Because again, the NHL has no rhyme or reasons to their suspensions.

Also, as a side note: Why did it take 36 hours to come to this decision?

If the NHL was actually serious about cracking down, they might want to consider keeping the war room open even until the West Coast games are done, and make a decision right there about the suspensions before the players are out of the building. It isn't like the video clips change if you wait a day or two to view them.