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TSN’s Dreger: Raffi Torres suspension will be pared down

From TSN’s Darren Dreger: It appears that Raffi Torres won’t serve the 25 games he was slated to sit out for concussing Marian Hossa:

Sources say Gary Bettman has reached a decision on Raffi Torres suspension appeal. Expected to reduce suspension by 4 games. 12 down to 8.
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Torres was suspended 25 games after a hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in game 3 of 1st round of the playoffs.
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To be clear, my math shows Torres had 12 games remaining in suspension. Reduction by 4 and 8 games remain next season.

Update: The NHL confirms:

NEW YORK (July 2, 2012)—National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced today that he has suspended Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres for 21 games for launching himself to deliver a late hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal Playoff series in Chicago on April 17.

The length of the suspension includes the 13 games Torres already served during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Torres therefore will remain suspended, without pay, for the first eight games of the upcoming regular season. Because he is classified as a repeat offender under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Torres will forfeit $170,731.68 in salary. In addition, Torres will be ineligible to participate in any preseason games until he has served the full term of the suspension.

“This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We have seen similar behavior before from Mr. Torres and, particularly given the League’s heightened scrutiny on hits to the head, I believe that a very significant penalty is warranted in this case. We hope and expect that the severity of this incident, and the League’s response to it, will help prevent any similar incident from occurring in the future.”

Torres met with Commissioner Bettman at a hearing in New York on May 17 pursuant to his appeal of a 25-game suspension assessed by NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan on April 21.

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Comments

jimathor's avatar

Just sneak that one in there whilst nobody’s looking. I have to ask, why?

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 07/02/12 at 02:57 PM ET

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I have to ask, why?

This has less to do with what Torres deserved, and more to do with how much he got compared to how little everyone else got in the playoffs. 

The union was right to appeal this.  Torres deserved as much as he got, if not more, but the rules were clearly not applied consistently.

Posted by jwad on 07/02/12 at 03:10 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Well said, jwad. Additionally, the cut coming from the commissioner without an explanation only reaffirms the arbitrary aspect of discipline in the league. Even when they do right, they shoot themselves in the foot.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 07/02/12 at 03:15 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

I have to ask, why?

Personally, I think it’s because Bettman is currently in talks with the NHLPA and he’s trying to show that the league can be fair and impartial towards its players.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 07/02/12 at 03:28 PM ET

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Even when they do right, they shoot themselves in the foot.

I don’t know.  I see this as a no lose for Bettman. 

By reducing it at all, he looks like a rational arbitrator of appeals.  He gets it out of the way before CBA negotiations get into full swing, and at a time when most people aren’t paying attention. 

He implies that the NHL was just a little too lax before coming down hard on Torres, without having to say it. And, he still makes sure Torres serves a disproportionately hefty suspension at 13 playoff games and 10% of the regular season, compared to other offenders.

Posted by jwad on 07/02/12 at 03:32 PM ET

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Shanahan getting screwed again. That’s what this is. And…it’s a PR-ploy by Bettman w/the negotiations ongoing.

Posted by ElCapitan on 07/02/12 at 03:34 PM ET

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Not applied consistently? The last time someone with Torres’ track record did anything, he got 17 and the infraction Cooke was suspended for (an elbow on Ryan McDonagh) didn’t cause an injury, let alone one of the magnitude of Hossas. In addition, Cooke broke one rule with the McDonagh hit and Torres broke 4 with the Hossa hit. In the context of that precedent, Torres’ suspension was the very picture of consistency.  Kypreos is right, this was reduced as a chip in the CBA negotiations.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/02/12 at 03:39 PM ET

jimathor's avatar

Oh yeah, y’know, what with all the nonsense over the last day or so, I completely forgot about the CBA business. My bad!

Posted by jimathor from The land of Sir Humblepatch of Bumblehound on 07/02/12 at 03:56 PM ET

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Not applied consistently?

compared to every other supplementary discipline issued in last years playoffs, this was not consistent.  What happened several years ago is not very relevant in this case.

There were plenty of suspendable offenses in the first round, including by repeat offenders, and most were given one game or less.  I think the maximum was 3 games. 

Again, i think he deserved that or more, but in the context of other punishment in the first round, his penalty was disproportionately severe.

Posted by jwad on 07/02/12 at 04:00 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I can’t figure out why Shanny wants to work for this guy.  raspberry

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 07/02/12 at 04:13 PM ET

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There were plenty of suspendable offenses in the first round, including by repeat offenders, and most were given one game or less.  I think the maximum was 3 games.

Again, i think he deserved that or more, but in the context of other punishment in the first round, his penalty was disproportionately severe.

Who else in the first round committed his 6th infraction for a headshot this season, exactly?

Unless Sutton, Pronger or Matt Cooke threw a flying elbow in the playoffs this year there’s no context for torres’ punishment this year. In terms of “context”, he’s them, he’s not Andrew Shaw.

What punishment Claude Giroux gets for a headshot has no bearing on how Torres should be punished because Giroux’s not a six-strikes and you’re out felon who making the most-illegal hit of the season that caused one of the worst injuries.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/02/12 at 04:40 PM ET

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Jwad
Maybe not several years ago, but how about in the preseason of this very year? And in the previous year. This was not first time in “several years”. This was the first time in several months.

Posted by teldar on 07/02/12 at 04:43 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Disproportionate? Context? The man hit someone in the head, and has a rather lengthy rap sheet.

A reduction in the time of suspension is inexcusable, and simply makes the league look like a bigger joke than it already does.

Thanks, Gary. Ass.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 07/02/12 at 04:49 PM ET

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My point is, the NHL let things get out of hand, and they responded by punishing Torres severely to try and regain control.  As I said before, I think he deserved everything he got, if not more.  But I also felt that they were responding as much to the bad publicity and trying to regain control, as they were to the actual play.

The clearly let the situation in the first round get out of hand, and escalate leading up to the Torres incident.  Other players deserved much harsher punishment then they got.  Had the NHL stepped up and handed out any punishment at all for the prior incidents,
Torres wouldn;t have any grounds for his appeal.  But they chose to let the first incidents go with little to no punishment.

Torres deserves a severe suspension, but because he was the only one that got one, the NHL deserves to lose the appeal.  Even after the reduction, Torres’s suspension is still the highest since the new headshot rules went into effect isnt it?

Posted by jwad on 07/02/12 at 05:05 PM ET

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A reduction in the time of suspension is inexcusable, and simply makes the league look like a bigger joke than it already does.

I agree in spirit with what your saying, however, i think the logic of the situation works more like this: 

Because the league and their supplementary discipline is a joke, Raffe Torres had grounds to appeal his suspension.

Posted by jwad on 07/02/12 at 05:15 PM ET

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My point is, the NHL let things get out of hand, and they responded by punishing Torres severely to try and regain control.  As I said before, I think he deserved everything he got, if not more.  But I also felt that they were responding as much to the bad publicity and trying to regain control, as they were to the actual play.

The clearly let the situation in the first round get out of hand, and escalate leading up to the Torres incident.  Other players deserved much harsher punishment then they got.  Had the NHL stepped up and handed out any punishment at all for the prior incidents,
Torres wouldn;t have any grounds for his appeal.  But they chose to let the first incidents go with little to no punishment.

You are dead wrong. No matter what happened or didn’t happen in the first round of the playoffs, Raffi Torres spent the entire season begging for Shanahan to give him the Matt Cooke trophy. He elbowed somebody in the head two hours after Shanahan gave him a warning this season.

Nobody else who committed an infraction in the first round spent the whole season doing this. Nobody in the first round committed an infraction this serious, either. Claude Giroux, James Neal and Andrew Shaw are apples until they throw 6 headshots in a year. Because they’re apples, they get punished like apples.

Raffi Torres, Andy Sutton and Matt Cooke are oranges. Why should an orange be treated like an apple?

Colin Campbell set the precedent for what guys who “just don’t get it” receive when they commit one infraction after they’re told not to end up in the disciplinary office again “or else.” The extra 8 games are easily explained in that the straw that broke the camel’s back for Cooke, was a relatively benign elbow that didn’t hurt anyone (as far as elbows can be benign). In Torres case, the straw that broke the camel’s back also happened to be the most-illegal hit of the year and caused a serious injury.

You can’t call the Torres suspension excessive unless you were up in arms about the Cooke suspension. Personally, I think both were earned, consistent with each other and sent the exact right message, if coming one to two infractions later than I would have liked.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/02/12 at 07:08 PM ET

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