NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan announced Saturday morning that Phoenix Coyotes forward – and one-time Canuck – Raffi Torres received a 25 game suspension for his late, high hit on Chicago Blackhawks star Marian Hossa on Tuesday.
Torres was not assessed a penalty on the play.
Hossa left the game on a stretcher and did not return. He also did not travel with the team to Phoenix for Game 5 Saturday, according to reports out of Chicago.
During a video on NHL.com, explaining the suspension, Shanahan noted that Torres violated three specific rules – interference, charging and illegal check to the head – on the hit alone, Hossa was severely injured and Torres is a repeat offender. All were factors, said Shanahan, in determining the “appropriate length of suspension.”
“Torres is not only a repeat offender, as defined by the [Collective Bargaining Agreement], his extensive supplemental discipline history consists mainly of acts very similar to this one, including two this season,” said Shanahan.
Naturally, Canucks players were asked for their reaction to the suspension – the longest of a record nine handed out so far in these 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa:
“Yeah, I think most people are a little surprised. It seems like an awful lot of games, but I’m not going to get into it too much right now. We obviously have our own focus, but for him, this is the one thing I will say about it is, there’s been a lot of dirty things happen in the playoffs and is this the worse thing by 15, 20 games? I don’t think even close.”
Canucks forward Daniel Sedin:
“I think what you need to get rid of is the clear head shots and intent to injure guys. That’s always been my view, but like I said, you leave your feet when you hit, you’re going to get suspended.
“I think it’s a little bit of everything. I think, obviously, Raffi took a big hit today. Like I said before, you need to get suspended when you leave your feet hitting guys. I thought 25 games, that’s a lot of games. But that’s the way it is and you’ve got to respect the job that Shanahan does too. It’s a tough job. Like I said, it’s going to come down to the players. You can have all the suspensions in the world but if players are going to keep doing those kind of things that happen, that you right now, that’s not good.”
Canucks forward Chris Higgins:
“…Twenty-five games is a really long time. I don’t know how that stacks up compared to other incidents that happened recently, but it seems like it’s a lot.”
Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault:
“I think it’s a little bit confusing for players at this point. Obviously, it’s not something that you like to see in the game, but in my opinion anyway, that was closer to being a hockey player – finishing his check, late – than Duncan Keith on [Daniel Sedin]. That’s not hockey. One gets a certain amount [of games], one gets a very high amount, so I don’t know. Probably a little confusing for a lot of people right now.”