Chicago Sun-Times

Raffi Torres' 25-game suspension reduced by four games

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After weeks of mulling over his decision, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Monday that Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres' suspension for his illegal shoulder-to-head hit on Blackhawks star Marian Hossa has been reduced by four games.

Torres was initially suspended 25 games by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his vicious hit on Hossa during the first round of the playoffs. Hossa was carted off on stretcher after the hit and hospitalized. He suffered a severe concussion and has been recovering slowly in his native Slovakia.

Torres, through the NHL Players' Association, appealed the length of the suspension and not the suspension itself. Bettman is the arbitrator in such cases. On May 17, Torres met with Bettman at a hearing in New York. He was orginially suspended on April 21.

Technically, Bettman announced a "new" 21-game suspension for Torres with time already served. A reputed headhunter with a long history of supplemental discipline, Torres served 13 games of his suspension during the postseason. The remaining 12 games would have carried over into the regular season (2012-13).

Now, Torres will only sit out eight games.

Since he is classified as a repeat offender under the current collective bargaining agreement, Torres will still forfeit $170,731.68 in salary. He also is ineligible to participate in any preseason games.

"This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the NHL," Bettman said in a statement. "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."

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They should kick Torres out before he ends someones carrer or worse. Bateman should resign has he ever played?

Exactly. Torres (and all others of his like) should be out until the injured player is back on the ice. Then they should begin to serve their suspension. AND, 3 strikes and you're out of the league.

They should have ADDED 25 more games to his suspension.

Everything NHL commissioner Gary "Beavis" Bettman has said in the article above suggests he would LENGTHEN the suspension of Raffi Torres.

My guess is that "Beavis" never contacted the Blackhawks on how Marion Hossa is recovering from the decapitation attempt by Torres.

All this "ruling" does is encourage clubs to call up a goon from the ECHL to be an on-ice assassin.
What penalty does Raffi Torres team pay? Absolutely nothing.

As long as the NHL has vague, flexible and weak guidelines on how to discipline deliberate attempts to injure, hockey will continue to be a secondary sport in the USA.

Not only should Gary Bettman resign immediately, but the joke who holds the title "NHL Vice President of Player Safety", Kevin "Butt-Head" Shanahan also should resign immediately.

As any parent disciplining a child knows, the only lessons learned come from sticking to the penalties handed down for misbehavior. If you let a kid skip before they have served an entire grounding, for example, the next threat of punishment then has no teeth.

Bettman is doing himself and the NHL a disservice with the message he and Shanahan are sending to the league. Sure, 21 games is a lot---but unless they add a stipulation like "next one and you are out of the league for good" there is zero impact to this goon or any of the other headhunters. That threat alone, with zero wiggle room--would make a player less valuable and potentially impact his career and livelihood. maybe that would finally affect his play.

In a league dependent upon superstars, every team is now looking for the enforcer again. The sport therefore suffers as every team is likely going to be less technically talented by at least one player, and tactics will now include retribution since the heads of the league don't have the stones to handle this stuff themselves.

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About the blogger

Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools. Follow him on Twitter:@adamjahns



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