OPINION: The NHL mishandled the Raffi Torres Incident

NOTE: The content in this article DOES NOT contain the opinion of the entire writing staff at The Athletes Hub. The opinions expressed in this piece are those soley of the writer of the piece.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has just handed down a 41 game suspension to San Jose Sharks left winger Raffi Torres for a hit he delivered to Anahiem Ducks rising star Jakub Silfverburg during the preseason. I am not questioning whether or not he should be suspended. To be perfectly honest, if Torres wasn’t suspended and only fined the $440,680.29 he wouldn’t appeal. However, that’s not the case. Let’s just cut to the chase.

Why the incident was mishandled:

It’s plain and simple really if you think about it. This hit does not warrant a half season suspension. If it does, then why is John Scott still here? How did Sean Avery go his entire career without being banned from the game? How about Steve Ott? All of these players and more have dished out a “dirty” hit and only managed to get 7-10 games, 15 at the most. 

There are those extreme cases, and the now second highest suspension is now only 23 games. Do you remember the Todd Bertuzzi incident? If not, long story short is Bertuzzi went after Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore because he had injured team captain Markus Nasland a few games prior. Bertuzzi’s revenge? A punch to the back of the head after Moore wouldn’t turn around to fight him. Some still dispute whether or not it was that or the ensuing dog pile that ended Moore’s career, but my point is the amount of games he got suspended for. Bertuzzi was assessed a 20 game suspension and a $250,000 fine. A career ended in that instance compared to this one, but he was given 21 games and $190,680.29 lesser punishment than Torres was.

 It doesn’t matter if it was a “different time” or “different playing style”. That doesn’t change the fact that Silfverburg will continue to play Torres’ victim, as compared to Moore, who’s still fighting the fight from this incident.

What The NHL Should Have Done:

15 games would have been plenty. Actually, that would’ve been more than enough. 10 or 11 would’ve been plenty, and a simple $175,000 fine would’ve sufficed.

Why I Think The NHL Made This Call:

It’s a reputation decision. Torres does not have the greatest rep in the league. Before hand, Torres had incurred a total of 33 games suspended. That means that he is open to larger suspensions. They believed that Torres is a danger on the ice to the safety of other players and I respect that.

All in all, 41 games is too much for anything. Well, at least not a hit that someone will come back from. I’ll be waiting for Matt Cooke’s overdue suspension. I’m sure Marc Savard is too.

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