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Shanahan sets precedent: Raffi Torres suspended 25 games for Hossa head shot

Apr 21, 2012, 12:23 PM EDT

Marian Hossa, Raffi Torres AP

In a major ruling, the NHL has suspended Phoenix’s Raffi Torres 25 games for his illegal check to the head of Chicago’s Marian Hossa.

The hit left Hossa on the ice and in need of a stretcher and a trip to the hospital. Hossa has not returned to action and remains out with what’s believed to be a concussion.

Torres’ past transgressions, including three offenses this season, worked against him.

In a statement, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan said Torres knew Hossa was no longer in possession of the puck on the play, as he took a swipe at it with his stick before leaping into Hossa to deliver a head shot. Shanahan noted Torres violated three rules on the play — interference, charging, and Rule 48 for an illegal check to the head — as well as Torres’ reputation as “a repeat offender as defined by the CBA.”

Since he’s already served one game of his in Thursday’s Game 4 — a 3-2 Coyotes victory — the 25-game ban means Torres is done for this year’s playoffs.

Should Phoenix go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and go seven games in all their series played, that would equal 25 games. Any games not served in the postseason will carry over to next year. Should that happen, Torres won’t be allowed to play in the preseason either.

Here’s Shanahan with his explanation of his decision.

  1. terriers4 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    when will Torres learn? Hopefully he smartens up and cleans his act up for next season before more people get hurt from his reckless hits.

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Mega thumbs up on that!

    • LilTmac2003 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Honestly, I think the suspension is good but I’ll like to see another thing.

      Suspending the officials of that game as well because I have no idea how any normal human can miss that?

      I’m not falling for that “Heat of the Moment” garbage. There was an official less than 3 yards away from the play and he had no clue what just happened.

  2. phillyphever - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Let the complaining on this punishment (Shanahan got this one right) begin in 5-4-3-2-1….

    • crashtheboards55 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Its about time

    • dadawg77 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      It should have been life but 25 games is good.

  3. t16rich - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    hahahahahaha wow. Awesome.

  4. tbeilfuss - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I think I just came………unlike a lot of hawks fans, I hope that this punishment opens up Torres eyes and he stops playing like a headhunter and more like the 5th overall pick that he was.

    I wonder if Shanny added in a few games for the unpunished hit to Seabrook 365 days earlier.

  5. chiadam - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Should have been 40, but it’s better than nothing. Real justice won’t be served until someone lines Torres’ head up and turns the tables. Let’s all hope that happens.

    • terriers4 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      No let’s not all hope that happens. Justice isn’t served by ending a man’s career. Its never good to see a guy get hurt, even if he is a dirty player himself. I would rather just see him clean his act up and play the game like it is supposed to be played

      • chiadam - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        And I would rather his career ends before he ends the career of someone else. He has had multiple chances. Now it needs to stop one way or another. If Torres has no regard for anyone else’s career, why should we care about his?

    • namriverrat69 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      25 is a good number. It hurts his team for a deep run in the playoffs. Previous penalties haven’t made a difference. He is too young a guy and too good a player not to learn how to hit. Perhaps he needs some anger management classes. He could take a few lessons on how to hit from Dustin Brown who is always in the top 3 in hits. He himself gets clocked back and to him it is just part of the game. He hammered Henrik Sedin in a perfectly clean shoulder to shoulder hit in game 3. In game four the twins gave him a little pay back but he never complained with his new split lip .

      My feelings are that if a player illegally cheap shots a player and puts him out of hockey for an extended period of time, that player should sit out the same amount of time until the player comes back or a desgnated time if the player is forced to retire. I’ve loved hockey since I was in Vietnam and these head shots weren’t there years ago. Of course they didn’t play with helmuts back then so there were no head shots. These have grown over the years of wearing helmuts. Players are so much bigger and stronger today that injuries are more severe from hits that might not have been so serious 30 years ago.

      If a player cannot play within the rules and continually flaunts his disrespect for the game then no matter how good he is, perhaps the European League or the Mexico/Latin American Hockey League would be a better fit.

  6. nickwire - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    love the ammount of games but hate that if torres was a 30 goal scorer it would have been 4 games

    • chiadam - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      One game (Neal).

      • amonte13 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Really, Neal’s hit was WAY after the targeted player had lost the puck, and Brendan believed his lame excuse. Neal then felt so bad about it he went down the other end of the ice and did the same thing, and he had a history as well! 1 game vs 25? That’s fair.

      • pens5829 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        Two games. (Read and Rinaldo)

  7. xaf605 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Is that all ,that loser should get more than that!

  8. dmfc1112 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Shanahan finally shows some balls. Now he needs to treat every player the same. Don’t overlook stuff like Weber or James Neal who delivered a very similar hit to an even less suspecting player. Just a flat out terrible job.

  9. gallyhatch - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    As a Bruins fans, I could give a hobo’s crap about Torres, I think the punishment fits the crime. Considering his history, I think Shanny could have given him some more, but whatever.

    I would like to think that players will take notice of this punishment, but I still don’t think this will be a deterrent from goon 4th liners trying to make a name for themselves amongst their teammates. We will see at least a few more of these hits before Christmas, if not sooner.

    I’m starting to fall in line with those who think the instigator penalty is the problem.

  10. thirtyearfan - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    It is just a shame that Torres suspension has little or no effect on outcome of series. Hossas absence and Shaws suspension have changed the dynamics of the Hawks. See you next year.

  11. rwmilli - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    So what about the hit your precious duncan Keith threw on Daniel sedin? Only worthy of 5? Don’t complain hawks fans.

    • bensawesomeness - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      I’m still having a hard time seeing that the Torres hit was worse than the flying elbow to the face, but repeat offender status makes a difference

  12. roadtrip3500 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Wraparound suspensions make no sense. Once the playoffs begin, a suspension of this magnitude should be the remainder of the playoffs AND a definite number of regular-season games the following season. Reason? Player salaries don’t include the playoffs! If indeed Phoenix goes all 4 rounds and 7 games per round, what does Torres lose? Playoff bonus money, but not a dime of his contract salary. Suspensions only work if they hit the player’s salary.

    and Joe… a nitpick, but a Journalism 101 fail – nowhere in your post do you ever identify who “Shanahan” is… not even his first name, let alone his title.

    • roadtrip3500 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Thanks for the edit, Joe!

  13. ravenscaps48 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    He finally got one right!

    • pens5829 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      For a change, I finally agree with you.

  14. bmscalise - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Given Torres’ attitude and history, I fully support this suspension, just as I did Cooke’s.

    But – the GMs and NHLPA will not allow these types of suspensions but very, very rarely, when you have a true predator like Torres. And it isn’t repeat offenders or 4th line scrubs that are making these poor decisions: it’s everyone, up and down line-ups on every team. For example, how many hits by Shane Doan have been reviewed in the last year and a half?

    No one in hockey will make suspensions of 5+ games typical. It simply will not happen – so can’t be a solution. In the long turn, if you want this to stop, I think you have to think smaller, not more grandiose:
    1) a two-min. penalty – consistently enforced – any time a guy hits someone in the head. No excuses, no discussion of intent, not just reserved for his like Torres. Lord, you get two mins for a high stick.
    2) Large fines – like $20-50,000+ depending on the circumstances and salary, given out with regularity. The players will listen if you keep taking large chunks of money. If GMs, etc, won’t allow long suspensions, get the players’ attention the only other way you can.

  15. yotesfan3 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Shanny sucks, shea weber……you cheated the system

  16. geo91 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    This doesn’t change anything, he only did it because he knows he shat the bed on all the other suspensions and feels this is what the people want. Figure it out Shanny, it’s not one extreme or another

  17. 1ayrquota - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    But nothing for grabbing a defenseless opponent by the back of his head and slamming his face into the boards, twice! This sport is a joke and so is everyone involved with it.

  18. capsfan19 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    And james neal gets one? Hmmm shanahan i call shenanigans

    • chiadam - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM


  19. qrycher - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Complete joke…Neal got Zero for the exact same hit on Coutier (sp) from the Flyers….

  20. bigoldorcafromvan - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    It is too bad Shanny didn.t set the precedend on the Keith hit. It was preditory intent to injure and a star missed 9 games of reg and 3 playoff games and made a big difference in game 4. Much like Hossa means to Chicago. Still 25 games is still lite I think. And all Keith got was a rest before the playoffs. Go Figure. Not to mention Neal , Weber and others even Bitz.

  21. coyotesfan - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    It seems Boston and Detroit players can get away with murder but anyone else gets hit hard and are n ot liked by the NHL or news media.
    Favortism to these two teams is seen all the time.
    The penalties handed out by theNHL are not equil by a long shot.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Then why wasn’t Weber suspended for attacking a Detroit player? The league favourites star players, not teams.

  22. rufe - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    At least this league has the cojones to start the suspensions as soon as determined what they are unlike other leagues who let the players play through the playoffs and then start their suspensions.

  23. kitshky - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    The only part of Shanahan’s explanation that can hold any water to this kind of suspension is Torres history, everything else about this hit makes it a 5 gamer at most. That being said, his history is pretty bloody significant.

    Having said that though, all this does is show Shanahan once again to be inconsistent and easily influenced by external pressure, whether it be from the media or the teams involved.

    To go from where he’s been on cases (both similar and much worse) within the last two months … to a 25 games suspension will leave the players even more confused.

  24. serbvet1 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    So flippin excessive! I have seen many hits similar to this with much less imposed.

    And if the NHL really wants to cut out head trauma stop the fighting. You can’t have it both ways- by penalizing players for big hits but allowing slugfests that bring nothing to the game except unnecessary violence (and drug addicted pain ridden players).

    Hope the Coyotes kick the crap out of the Hawks tonight. The Hawk fans are whining babies. Face it- you are getting outplayed and beaten by a better team!

  25. nydaniel - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Ok, that’s all fine and good. He’s a headhunter and you really can’t complain about them coming down hard. It SHOULD be his last suspension, or do they just plan to let him keep concussing opponents on purpose?

    But, what is being done to the refs in that game?? As the league has pointed out, repeatedly, he violated 3 separate rules on that play, and yet he wasn’t even whistled for a penalty.

    One would assume that those refs are done for the playoffs as well.

  26. sjsharks66 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Hockey fans are pretty stupid. I dont like Torres, but would never wish anyone career ended. No matter how dirty they are. This hit compared to Neal’s hits (and should I add Giroux’s horrible dive) is worse. It seems that everyone is more caught up in the “playing favorites” system that they’ve made up in their heads. Two blackhawks have been suspended in the last 2 months for targeting a star players head with their elbows. However no one is saying, ” I really hope someone steps up and ends their careers those dirty players!” everyone’s opinions are almost as inconsistent as shanabans suspensions.

    • HawaiiHockey - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      Then shut up and go hang out with people who don’t like hockey.

    • hockeyfan72 - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      Hockey fans aren’t near as stupid as you think. Torres is nothing but a common street thug and should be banned from all hockey forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • wisbadgers - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      @sjsharks 66. I couldn’t agree more. Duncan Keith throws an elbow at Daniel Sedin and leaves him with a concussion where he is still not right and every Chicago Blackhawk fan applauds Keith for being “hardnosed and gritty”.
      Yet when someone hits Lord Marion Hossa, and everyone in Chicago is calling for a lifetime ban cause “he’s out of control”.
      Both hits were mean spirited and violent and both players had to put it nice, “lapses in judgement”. That being said, the Hawks fans can’t have it both ways.
      I thought Torres would get around 10-15 games. 25 games sends a strong message, specifically at Torres and his history of unsafe hits. But that doesn’t mean his career should end.
      Chicago fans need to worry more about their goalie giving up lame goals and less about Torres.

  27. eggserino - Apr 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    The pagination on the comments isn’t working.

  28. gramma2twins - Apr 21, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    sjsharks66……..Hockey fans are NOT stupid. Apparently you don’t know much about the fans or hockey to much such a statement!

    Torres should have been fired & banned for life from the sport. After being told that many times to stop, it’s not like he didn’t know not to do it.

    • paperlions - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      No kidding….after watching that list of headshots….he’s lucky he wasn’t banned at least a year.

  29. hky15 - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Too little to late, 25 games seems like a lot but certainly not enough. In the meantime, Neal etc. are smiling, while getting ready for their next game.
    It’s a one big joke.

  30. xaf605 - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Hockey fans are stupid you must be a Canucks fan

  31. coyotefan - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    25 games for that hit is ridiculous. Shananan is listening to Chicago fans and media.

    The Coyotes will finish this series tonight. Go Yotes!!

    • pone27 - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      You are ridiculous. Congrats on having the dirtiest player in the league take out one of the best. I am sure you miss Torres so much.

      By the way, Smith should be on the next dancing with stars. That was some triple lutz he did.

  32. proudliberal85392 - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    serbvet1 said it best: “Hope the Coyotes kick the crap out of the Hawks tonight. The Hawk fans are whining babies. Face it- you are getting outplayed and beaten by a better team!”

  33. stakex - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    I know everyone hates Torrest so they defend the length of this suspensions (I hate him as well). However this is a joke. If Hossa wasn’t hurt by this hit, there probably wouldn’t have been a suspension at all… or at worst it would have been a couple games. I don’t see how an injury makes the hit any worse.

    All I can say is that if a star player like Malkin or Crosby throw a similar hit that results in a major injury…. they better be hit with massive suspensions as well. They won’t of course.

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