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Will the NHLPA appeal the Torres suspension?

Apr 21, 2012, 1:25 PM EDT


People are saying a lot of things about the 25-game suspension Raffi Torres was handed today, but not many are saying it was too lenient.

For putting Marian Hossa in the hospital, Torres will serve two more games than Marty McSorley sat for nearly decapitating Donald Brashear in 2000, four more than Dale Hunter got for blindsiding Pierre Turgeon in 1993, and five more than Todd Bertuzzi got for ending Steve Moore’s career in 2004.

As bad as what Torres did to Hossa, it didn’t stack up to those three offenses.

Of course, Torres is a multiple repeat offender, and that played a significant role in his sentence.

However, it will be interesting to see how the NHLPA reacts, because Torres is still a member of the players’ union. As such, the union has a duty to stick up for him if it feels he’s been treated unfairly.

An appeal is reportedly not out of the question.

The risk for the PA should it decide to appeal is considerable. For the past two weeks, the NHL has been lambasted by fans and media for its failure to apply tough justice. An appeal would put the union right in the same cross-hairs. And with the upcoming CBA negotiations, the last thing it’ll want to do is get on the wrong side of the public.

The NHLPA walks a very fine line in these situations. On the one hand, it’s obligated to defend members who it feels are treated unfairly by the league. In the Torres case, the word “scapegoat” comes to mind.

On the other hand, what about Hossa? Isn’t he a member as well?

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

  1. travishenryskid - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    The last sentence is the key. The players association always seems intent on protecting the guy that commits the crime, but fails to protect the victim of the dirty play. Seems completely backwards.

  2. polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Exactly right Jason and Travis…but, they will appeal… even if it’s simply for posturing and the appearance of involvement.

    Too bad, Raffi is a decent hockey player when that’s actually his focus.

  3. t16rich - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    With a CBA negotiation on the horizon, they will definatly appeal.

  4. solador78 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    It’s a trap!

    The league and media would like nothing more than to destroy the NHLPA in the court of pubic opinion right before collective bargaining starts.

    • chiadam - Apr 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      It’s a trap! Go Back! Get to the chopper!

      Anyway, an appeal would just be another misguided decision by a union that can’t see the forest for the trees. Just read the last sentence over and over again. Hossa is also a member of the union.
      As far as destroying the NHLPA in the court of public opinion during the CBA negotiations, 98% of the public doesn’t give a ****. People on this board do, but hockey remains a niche sport. A great sport, but a niche one. You love it or you don’t care about it at all.

  5. habsman - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    The NHL makes unilateral decisions on discipline. The NHLPA has always wanted to have a say in the decision process. Regardless of the merits of the Torres suspension, the union will dispute it on principle.

  6. thehighcountrybear - Apr 21, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    The NHLPA is bound by labour law to represent its membership…all members including a perpetrator such as Torres are entitled to representation, particularly through any appeal process! The Union has much ground for appeal and will likely have the sentence reduced in light of the weak-kneed responses by Shanahan in dealing with other fouls in the post season alone [ can you spell farce ]? One only has to examine the remarkably favorable ruling benefitting a knuckle-dragging ape like Shea Weber and his Predators, a team continually benefitting from favorable rulings including being permitted to mine the KHL for players to benefit their playoff run long after the trade deadline [ great precedence for other teams so inclined in the future ]. Of course the Torres matter will go to independent arbitration, so look for the suspension to be reeled-back to be more consistent with rulings made in playoffs to date. If the entire process overlaps final penalty, the NHL will be required to make an award to Torres in compensation for lost income. That should get the silk panties worn in the NHL League offices in a knot…

  7. shortsxit - Apr 21, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Personally, I’m glad.they threw the boom at him. The guy is a head hunter that is hell bent on going around trying to.injure players.

    Having said that, The NHLPA should appeal based strictly on the fact that only days earlier, a precedent was set when Neal went unpunished for the same exact hit.

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