Raffi Torres Suspended 41 Games

USATSI_7916799_154158418_lowresSan Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games without pay for his illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

The 41-game suspension is one of the longest suspensions in league history for an on-ice incident. It’s also Torres’ fifth. He has also been fined three times and received two warnings. He’s received suspensions for hits to the head on Jordan Eberle (2011), Nate Prosser (2011), Marian Hossa (2012), and Jarrett Stoll (2013).

Billy Coutu was banned for life in 1927 after an incident in which he assaulted two referees and started a bench-clearing brawl. The ban was eventually amended after two and a half years, but the man known as “Wild Beaver” never played in the NHL again and the league has never again issued a lifetime ban.

Chris Simon received a 30-game suspension for a stomping incident involving Jarkko Ruutu, while former Philadelphia Flyers winger Jesse Boulerice was suspended 25 games for cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face. Simon received a 25-game ban for his two-handed stick attack to the face of New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg.

Simon faced a total of 65 games in suspension throughout his NHL career, starting way back in 1997 when he was banned for three games following a stick-swinging incident involving Mike Grier. He was part of a small group of NHL players seemingly incapable of learning.

And Torres is certainly on that list.

Consider back in 2011 when he wasn’t disciplined for his hit to the head of Andrew Ference, then of the Boston Bruins. The very next night, Torres took a run at Colorado’s Jan Hejda and received a fine for a headshot. Two nights after that, he was suspended two games for the aforementioned Prosser hit. Bear in mind, too, that Torres was suspended for four games earlier in the year for the Eberle hit.

The thing that’s weird about the 41-game suspension is that it doesn’t suit the league’s definition of a repeat offender under the terms of the current CBA. “A Player is considered a repeat offender for 18 months following his most recent incident that resulted in a suspension,” say the rules.

Torres had been out due to injury and only played in 15 NHL games since the Stoll suspension in 2013.

Of course, the repeat offender status is really only used to calculate “the amount of salary forfeited should he receive another suspension.” And furthermore, “his past history may come into consideration when determining future Supplemental Discipline.”

The other matter is that the Sharks will be down a roster spot for the first half of this season. And they’ll be paying for it, as Torres’ salary goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fun. So he’s hurting his team here and that won’t sit well, which could make it even harder for other teams to want to take a gamble on him after his current deal expires at the end of this season.


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