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Bettman reduces Torres suspension by four games (Updated)

Jul 2, 2012, 1:03 PM EDT

torresgetty Getty Images

Big non-free agent news Monday — TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Raffi Torres has successfully (somewhat) appealed his 25-game suspension.

According to sources, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will reduce the remaining time on Torres’ suspension from 12 games to eight.

UPDATE: The NHL has released a statement, though it doesn’t explain why the suspension was reduced.

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.”

It’s a significant decision and one rife with ramifications — Bettman has overruled the longest and arguably most controversial decision of Brendan Shanahan’s time as NHL discipline czar.

Torres was suspended 25 games for a hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. The severity of the hit, combined with Torres’ repeat offender status, led to Shanahan issuing the second-longest suspension (tied) for an on-ice incident in modern NHL history.

Torres missed the final 13 games of Phoenix’s postseason.

This successful appeal will be an interesting conversation piece as the NHL and NHLPA continue to negotiate towards a new collective bargaining agreement.

Almost immediately after Shanahan handed down his ruling, Torres released a statement through the PA — that was followed by a the PA’s appeal request, claiming the suspension was “excessive and arbitrary” and “more than double the length of any ever issued by Brendan Shanahan and is one of the longest suspensions in the history of the NHL.”

The NHLPA also wanted to see supplementary discipline dished out in a “consistent manner,” and stated the hearing and subsequent Torres’ suspension “violated the very basic requirements of a fair process.”

  1. dhawks19 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    That dirty piece of trash the Blackhawks might have won the series if they had hossa if you watched the series the Blackhawks were clearly a better team but smith was amazing have to give him credit if im the coyotes I’ll trade Torres for hossa in no time

    • drewsylvania - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Punctuation please.

      • dhawks19 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Haha sorry your right.

    • dannymac17 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Doesn’t matter, you still would have lost to the Kings.

    • lovinthatsomanyhateonnd - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      done crying, need a tissue? Dustin Brown is way worse than Torres as far as cheap shots…for some reason though, they were ignored.

  2. mclovinhockey - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Once again, the NHL helps another team whose franchise is dying… Anyone recall that rigged draft when a certain team was about to have to move their franchise due to a horrible fan base and the owner of the team was planning to have this future star living with him before the lottery even happened during the lock out??? I know this isn’t as big as that, just saying

    • dhawks19 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      You’re right but it’s not going to make a difference to get Torres back 4 games early

    • miketoasty - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      Hahahahahaha, people still think the rottery was rigged? That was almost 10 years ago, give it a rest man!

    • speedstickmusk - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Sounds like you’re still losing sleep over this, you ass… get over it already

  3. ThatGuy - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I’m surprised no one has reported on what this really is, CBA posturing. The NHLPA was going to try get an independent panel for discipline or appeals. With likely nothing to show that the current system works fairly, they had to get one on record. This is an easy one to throw a bone to because all it is doing is turning 25 to 21 games. Big deal.

    • comeonnowguys - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      It always strikes me as odd when a players association gets their hackles up defending a repeat thug-type player rather than all the people he targets.

      • chadc84 - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        Do you know what a union is?

      • comeonnowguys - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM

        I didn’t say I was surprised. Or that I didn’t understand. I said it’s odd.

    • claysbar - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      Never thought about it but you could be right. Still don’t see how the NFL let Goodell (sp?) become judge, jury and executioner. I think that any suspensions/fines should be decided by a panel of 3, a representative of the NHL, the Players Union and Referee’s. Now of course for the most part we know what the NHL and Players Union would vote for but this gives the Officials a way save face on missed calls. JMO..

  4. hitem396 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    noway. 25game suspension was not about the hit but his LONG LONG history! he deserved the 25game suspension

    • lovinthatsomanyhateonnd - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      the combination of dirty hits throughout the playoffs should have gotten Dustin Brown a half season suspension…but that isnt happening either

  5. comeonnowguys - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Fine. Whatever. Just make sure, Bettman, that you ban him for life the next time he does this. Because he will.

    • claysbar - Jul 2, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      Got me thinking, McSorley didn’t even get a lifetime ban for what he did. That said, it would set a bar for punishments, of sorts.

      • comeonnowguys - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        Great point. Comparing just the two hits, and as much as I’ve come to hate Torres, they’re not even close. I think the difference is the long b-roll of evidence that Torres has developed over his career doing the exact kind of hit. They’re all almost identical in form and execution.

        I imagine Cooke would have been the precedent if he hadn’t turned it around. He’s provided the example, I’m just not convinced Torres can follow it.

  6. hitem396 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    definitely he will do again even in ahl

  7. ineedmorehossa - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I’ve never liked Raffi….

  8. dannymac17 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Mike Smith is sickened by this and thinks Dustin Brown should be kicked out of the league.

  9. nklimet1 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I’m glad it was reduced. It shouldn’t have carried over into the next season anyways. He does have a history, but he’s already served a 26 game sentence because games SHOULD weigh double during playoff time. Yes it was a hard hit, but had Hosa not been injured on the play it wouldn’t have gotten this far. If Torres laid the same hit on someone a bit tougher than Hosa then it wouldn’t be such an issue. Shannahan just used Torres as an “example” plain and simple. Same thing as Vilma on the N.O Saints. These players are just poster children for the New stricter player safety laws. Physical sports are meant to be rough so quit your whining.

    • comeonnowguys - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      1) Suspending based on injury and not intent is a slippery slope to even more inconsistency.

      2) Pay attention, because in your rush to blame this terrible curse of player safety, you may have missed the biggest reason it was 25 games. Torres has a long and detailed history of these. exact. kinds. of. hits.

      3) Learn to breathe through your nose.

      • comeonnowguys - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        Follow-up to 1): When you suspend based on whether someone is hurt or not, you start to get a lot of diving, such as Mike Smith’s pathetic display after the Shaw hit. Do you really want NBA-style flopping to run rampant?

  10. atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    So will he tack the 4 games on when Torres gets suspended later in the season?….and we all know he will get suspended.

  11. mclovinhockey - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Ummm the lottery was rigged

  12. tackledummy1505 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    It’s who you know and what team you are that gives always an edge in discipline. Take Malkin and the Penguins. Malkin is one of the most dirtiest players in the game today. With his late hits, elbows to the head or just plainly punching you in the face on the faceoff. This is why the PA wants it. Theres too much favoritism and the integrity of the game is majorly affected from it

  13. blomfeld - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    GOOD MOVE GARY !

    Despite all the abuse and scorn he takes, the fact of the matter is that Gary Bettman has the pulse of this league down like no other commissioner in NHL history. Torres is human scum, no two ways about that. But by reducing his suspension like this, not only does Bettman shown reason and compassion, as well he now allows the “forces of justice” to have their day in a much more “timely” fashion. The bottom line is that this is exactly what “bold and visionary” leadership is supposed to all about … great move Gary !

  14. rflashj - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I think Shanahan’s original intent was to make sure Torres didn’t play in another playoff game. If the ‘yotes went to the Finals with no Torrest, that would be penalty enough without costing Torres a penney of his salary. I disagree that Shanahan was “overruled” by reducing the suspension 4 games. I think both Bettman and Shanahan are on the same page here. The difference between 8 and 12 regular season games (especially after missing the playoffs) is almost nothing and will have no effect on Torres’ behavior from here on. Actually, this even sounds like the NHL is telling Torres we are giving you one more chance. Don’t mess up. I’d bet that Bettman and Shanahan even discussed this before the new ruling. Hate Torres, but hoping he changes.

  15. chitown56 - Jul 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I think bettmen and shanahan both blew it in the playoffs big time

  16. sabatimus - Jul 2, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Leave it to the NHLPA to mess with a suspension that might actually serve as a deterent.

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