For anyone who’s missed it last night, there’s another suspension in the NHL playoffs. The NHL announced today on its website that Phoenix forward Raffi Torres is suspended indefinitely for his shoulder check to the head of Chicago forward Marian Hossa. Torres will have an in-person hearing on Friday with the league’s Department of Player Safety. In case you haven’t already seen it here you go:
As you can see, Torres left his feet to deliver the blow to Hossa’s head. If anyone’s seen Brendan Shanahan’s previous suspension videos, you’ll know that the three main criteria used to determine a suspension are the incident, injuries on the play and previous disciplinary history. So I’ll break it down by those three.

    1. To start off, Hossa does not have the puck when Torres hits him. Next, Torres left his feet to deliver the check.     This should have been a penalty just for that. Not to sound too much like Shanahan but this violates Rule 42             which states, “A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an         opponent in any manner.” I think we can agree a penalty should have been called.

    2. Hossa was injured on the play and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. He was released from the             hospital last night and the Blackhawks are calling it an upper-body injury and didn’t give a timetable for his return     to play.

    3. CBC sports has put together a nice list of Torres’ questionable incidents. According to it, he had two fines and     two suspensions in his NHL career. His first was a $2,500 fine on October 20, 2007 for a blindside hit on Calgary     Flames forward David Moss.
    Next was a four game suspension for contact to the head of Edmonton Oiler forward Jordan Eberle on April 5,         2011.
    Then Torres received another $2,500 fine for contact to the head of Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda     long after Hejda got rid of the puck on December 29, 2011. 
    Lastly, Torres received a two game suspension after a hit on Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser. Torres     left his feet and his shoulder made contact with Prosser’s head on January 3, 2012.
    While Torres wasn’t disciplined for his hit on Chicago Blackhawk defenseman Brent Seabrook last April I still want     to mention it. Seabrook was blindsided by the hit and Torres targeted his head too. Seeing a trend?
Personally, I’d like to see Torres suspended for the rest of the playoffs but given current trends I’d be surprised if he gets more than five games.

So now, on to the suspension announcements from last night. Washington Capitals forward Nicholas Backstrom and Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal both received one game suspensions and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Arron Asham got four games. I'm not surprised with any of the suspensions, but thought maybe Neal should have received another game given his history.

Don’t forget Penguins will also be without forward Craig Adams was suspended for tonight’s game due to instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Sunday’s game. That means the Penguins will be down three forwards for tonight’s crucial Game 4 with the Flyers looking to sweep the series.

I hope it’s a good (and clean) night of hockey tonight and that I won’t have to write another suspension post tomorrow.

 


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