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Torres ready to return from suspension

Jan 31, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT

Raffi Torres Getty Images

Raffi Torres is eligible to return to the Phoenix Coyotes lineup on Saturday against Dallas — and when he does, he vows to be a different player.

“[I’m] just focusing on instead of going for the big hit, just kind of rubbing guys out and trying to take the puck at the same time,” Torres explained. “[Head coach Dave Tippett] showed me a bunch of clips where I was thinking puck first and hit second and it worked out, where I got a lot of scoring chances out of it.

“It’s just a matter of me controlling my emotions throughout the game.”

Torres has one game left to serve on the 21-game suspension — appealed down from 25 games originally — levied after his massive hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during last spring’s Western Conference semifinal.

The suspension was a combination of the severity/ferocity of the hit on Hossa, and Torres’ reputation as a repeat offender. He’d been tagged on multiple occasions for dangerous hits — many to the heads of opposing players.

Prior to the Hossa suspension, Torres was dinged four games in 2011 for a hit to the head of Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle (as a member of the Canucks) and two games last season for charging Minnesota Wild defenceman Nate Prosser.

Much like Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke — who was suspended 10 games and the entire opening playoff round in 2011 for a nasty hit on Ryan McDonagh — Torres says a re-evaluation of his game and plenty of video study have helped him become a safer, more aware player.

“Me and Tip sat down and went over that kind of stuff, there might be a little bit more of a magnifying glass on you for the first couple of games, so there’s no need to go out there running around like we’ve talked about,” Torres said. “Just go out there and play the game, try to put myself in some good opportunities to score some goals and make some plays.”

  1. killerpgh - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    His 4th game back will be against the Blackhawks. Could be a game to keep an eye on to see if there is any payback.

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      It’ll be top of their mind the whole night, but I’d be surprised if something happened. He knows they’ll be looking for him, and he’s never struck me as a guy who swings when the other guy’s looking.

      • wisbadgers - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        I think you’re confusing Raffi Torres with Duncan Keith.

      • comeonnowguys - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:09 AM

        …Nope, no confusion here.

  2. thehighcountrybear - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Clean slate…penalty served. Let Raphael paint a picture showing his otherwise excellent hockey skills…

  3. beergold - Feb 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Translation – I’ve been told by the league and my team that one more act of utter stupidity and I am done in the NHL, I’ll be a good boy I promise.”

    PS: I like my paycheck!

  4. columbiannecktie - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Blackhawks have to send a tough guy to fight him, but it needs to be a guy who is a sure thing to beat the piss out of him. I’m not familiar enough with their 3rd and 4th lines but I’m sure they can find some unskilled goon to get the job done.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      They don’t need, nor should they, to do anything to him. Unless he tries it again.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 1, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      (Because he did actually try to do the exact same thing to Hossa earlier in the game)

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