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Torres suspended 25 games for Hossa hit
- Updated: April 21, 2012
Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres won’t be playing in the NHL anytime soon.
The NHL made an example of Torres and suspended him for 25 games following his illegal hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, which prompted medical staff to take Hossa off the ice on a stretcher.
“Torres launched himself to deliver a late, direct hit to the head of Chicago forward Marian Hossa,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video statement. “After the puck is poked off Hossa’s stick, he turns towards the middle of the ice. As Hossa turns to recover the loose puck … it is clear (Torres) sees that Hossa is no longer in possession of the puck because Torres takes a one-handed swipe at it with his stick.
“Torres then leaps into the air and drives his left shoulder into Hossa’s head. This is a violation of three NHL rules: interference, charging and illegal check to the head.”
Torres met with league officials regarding the hit yesterday afternoon. However, the announcement of any subsequent disciplinary action was delayed until today.
The 25-game suspension is the longest that Shanahan has handed out during his tenure as NHL disciplinarian. He previously suspended Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski for 13 games earlier this season. Wisniewski missed five pre-season games and eight regular season games thanks to his suspension.
This is the third suspension for Torres over the last two seasons – a factor that certainly played into Shanahan’s decision.
“In addition to the fact that three separate NHL rules were violated by this one hit, two other factors were critical in determining the appropriate length of suspension,” Shanahan said. “First, this violent and dangerous hit caused a severe injury. Second, Torres is not only a repeat offender as defined by the (collective bargaining agreement), his extensive supplemental discipline history consists mainly of acts very similar to this one, including two this season.”
Should his suspension carry over into next season, as it likely will, Torres will forfeit $21,341.46 in salary for every regular season game he misses.
The announcement of the suspension comes just hours before the Phoenix Coyotes take on the Blackhawks for Game 5 of their series. Phoenix leads the Blackhawks three games to one. Torres had a goal and an assists in the series against Chicago. He averaged just over 19 minutes of ice time per game for the Coyotes in three games.
No word yet on when Hossa will return to the lineup for Chicago.