One of the hottest talkers in hockey right now revolves around San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres and his series-long suspension following a hit he put on Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll. The NHL cited the violent nature of the hit as one of the reasons they slapped Torres with the ban, and already the decision is polarizing fans and analysts across hockey.
Naturally, San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson thinks the suspension is “unfair”, but he’s being joined by perhaps the loudest voice in Canada as hockey analyst Don Cherry also disagrees with the NHL’s decision to suspend Torres as long as they did.
“I like Stoll [but] I don’t think he [Torres] should have got [as severe a suspension],” Cherry said on his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “If it hadn’t have been Raffi Torres, it would have been maybe a game. Twenty years ago, you would’ve got a medal for doing something like this.”
Cherry has never been one to shy away from controversial comments, but he’s got a point, albeit one he’s not trying to make. Cherry is trying to defend the hit as legal but the point he’s accidentally making is that the game has remained as violent as it was twenty years ago but the regulations are much stricter. He’s right when he says this kind of hit would have been a Top 10 play on SportsCenter back in 1993 but the way the game is governed has changed and that’s where people are taking issue with Torres’ suspension.
It’s possible Cherry was trying to make a commentary on Brendan Shanahan and the way the NHL hands out suspensions. The hit deserved a suspension by today’s rules and regulations but it’s the the length that is up for debate and it’s one that’s already raging and isn’t showing any signs of simmering.