For the second straight postseason, forward Raffi Torres will be benched thanks to a lengthy suspension following a questionable hit on an opposing player. Torres will have to sit the remainder of the San Jose Sharks’ series against the Los Angeles Kings after he was hit with a suspension for his hit on Jarrett Stoll.
But while the Kings think the suspension is just, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is raising his fists in protest as he claims to have seen nothing wrong with Torres’ hit on Stoll.
“It is abundantly clear that this was a clean hockey hit,” Wilson said in a statement. “As noted by the NHL, Raffi’s initial point of contact was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on an opponent who was playing the puck. He did not leave his feet or elevate, he kept his shoulder tucked and elbow down at his side, and he was gliding — not skating or charging.”
The NHL cited the violent nature of the hit as well as other technical specifics as justification for the hit. Torres being a repeat offender in the Stanley Cup Playoffs likely also factored into the suspension.
Last season while with the Phoenix Coyotes, Torres was slapped with a 25 game ban after an open ice hit that knocked Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa unconscious on the ice. While everyone agreed that the hit was brutal and that Torres deserved a ban, there were even protests then about the length of the suspension. Wilson isn’t comparing the two hits, he is saying that the NHL is again overstepping it’s bounds by handing out such a lengthy ban to Torres.
“It appears that the NHL has not only made an inappropriate application of this rule but is trying to make an example out of a player who is being judged on past events, one who has changed his game dramatically this season and taken only six minor penalties in 39 games,” Wilson said.
Torres’ original suspension for his hit on Hossa was reduced, but the NHL doesn’t look at all ready to hear an appeal on this one and Torres is going to sit whether Doug Wilson thinks it’s fair or not.