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History: Where Torres’ 25 games ranks among the NHL’s longest suspensions

Apr 21, 2012, 12:59 PM EDT

Brendan Shanahan’s 25-game suspension of Phoenix forward Raffi Torres represents one of the harshest punishments in NHL history.

Here’s a look at some of the other most notorious incidents (and suspensions) of the modern era:

Dec. 2007: Chris Simon stomps Jarkko Ruutu (30 games)

A repeat offender — he’d been suspended 25 games in March of 2007 for slashing Ryan Hollweg in the head — Simon was handed one of the stiffest penalties in league history.

The official statement from then-league disciplinarian Colin Campbell:

“In addition, while the act itself was extremely dangerous, the fact that this is the eighth incident requiring the imposition of supplementary discipline on  Simon compelled me to impose a very severe penalty in this case. 

When a player repeatedly evidences the lack of ability to control his actions and conducts himself in total disregard of the rules, as well the health and safety of other players on the ice, each subsequent incident is deserving of enhanced scrutiny and more severe discipline.”

Oct. 2007: Jesse Boulerice cross-checks Ryan Kesler (25 games)

Campbell statement:

“You hope there’s a point where a player says: this is where I draw the line and I’m not going any farther.

“When they do go farther, they get a penalty. When they go farther than that, they get a suspension. When they take it to the point where Mr. Boulerice did, it’s well above a normal suspension.”

Feb 2000: Marty McSorley slash on Donald Brashear (remainder of season — 23 games)

This hit basically ended McSorley’s career, as he’d never play another NHL game after the Brashear incident. McSorley was later found guilty of assault and sentenced to 18 months probation in what was the first trial for an on-ice attack since Dino Ciccarelli in 1988.

Apr. 1993: Dale Hunter deliberate hit/injury on Pierre Turgeon (21 games)

In one of his first major rulings as commissioner, Gary Bettman handed down what was, at the time, the longest suspension in league history for an on-ice incident.

“Under my watch, this is the way I’m going to deal with these incidents,” Bettman said. “If this is not a deterrent, I’m going to find something that is. Everyone will be held accountable for their conduct.”

Mar. 2004: Todd Bertuzzi punches Steve Moore (remainder of season — 20 games)

Bertuzzi was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs and, because of the 2004-05 NHL lockout, banned from playing in any IIHF league as well. Moore’s career was essentially over after the hit; his civil suit against Bertuzzi is set to begin on Sept. 24, 2012.

  1. johnguelff - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    love it..dirty hit..from a dirty dirty dirty player..he should be banned..

  2. eigglesnosuperbowls - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Should add some penguins to this !

  3. penzfan329 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    dumb^^ i disagree with the lenght of the suspension personally

  4. kitshky - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:02 PM


    • taytay099 - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      I agree. Raffi’s hit probably would have been called a good hit and shown on every highlight reel 5 years ago. The problem with Torres is he hasn’t adjusted his style of play to the new rules. He hits high and sometimes a bit late. He’s still playing like he did when he first joined the league. Times have changed but Raffi hasn’t.

      He has a good history of questionable hits, but I’ve never viewed him as a dirty player. He plays hard every shift, but he seems a little too over eager to throw a big hit and quite often leaves his feet.

  5. aventador12 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    ^-^ I agree with kitshky.

    • kitshky - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      …and the problem isnt that it’s not wrong to finally draw the line with someone, you have to draw it somewhere, but how the hell do they expect to hold this line moving forward?

      This is not a statement, and it’s not a precedent, its a knee jerk reaction to public outcry that will not be applied to infractions moving forward. A useless and wasted scapegoat.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    All this proves is you have to be a career rat and cheap-shot artist to draw the full ire of the NHL. Until you’ve established yourself as one you can do whatever you want and only sit a couple of games for it.

    • pone27 - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Not true.

      Its more along the lines of analyzing the severity of the penalty, take in regard the history of the player, then suspend him for X games.

      Example, if I have been committed for robbery with no record, and you did the same crime with a previous history, you are going to get a severe punishment.

      Very happy they threw the book at Torres. Maybe he will smarten up like Cooke did.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        That’s more or less what I just said, my point being that it doesn’t make sense as a deterrent. If a hit is illegal then it’s illegal. Slap a guy with little or no history with something like this and maybe players will start thinking before they throw dangerous hits.

  7. ray2013 - Apr 21, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Shanny was criticized by many for being too lenient early in the playoffs, and now he swings for the fences to silence his critics. I remember when McSorley slashed Brashear. At the time there was a big uproar, because of the fear that he could have killed him with that axe-chopping. For Torres to get more than McSorley did signals an over-reaction.

  8. canucks18 - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Shannahan has jumped in with the officiating blunders with this one… Suspension for Torres fine but 25 games?? This is ludacris

    • paperlions - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      No it isn’t. Did you watch the list of headshots from this guy? He’s lucky to still be allowed to play. If the NHLPA cared about the safety of players, they’ll file an appeal for a longer suspension.

  9. tazintz - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I see a drastic inconsistency in Shannahan’s decisions. Driving a player’s head into the glass at the conclusion of the game gets a $2500 fine and nothing else, then this is 25 games!?! I guess Shannahan didn’t want to appear to be playing favorites with the Wings.

    • paperlions - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      You are ignoring player history.

      This is not an attempt to set a precedent. It is a message to Torres, who has a long and decorated history of aggressive head shots: that messages is “change your approach to the game or you won’t be around.” If Weber had been suspended multiple times for elbows throw to the head of players, you can bet he would have been suspended for slamming Zetterberg’s head into the glass.

      • tazintz - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM

        But still, a deliberate attempt to injure an opponent away from the puck and no suspension. Simply because there was no injury. What if he would have rendered him unconscious or cut his face on the boards? Would that have warranted a suspension? Dirty play is dirty play. It is too late once someone is injured and possibly ends a career even to suspend for 25 games. Ask Steve Moore.

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