Phoenix Coyote’s Raffi Torres has been suspended for 25 games by the NHL for his hit on Chicago Blackhaw’s Marian Hossa. Torres will miss the rest of the playoffs and will most likely miss several games at the start of the 2012 season.
The NHL made the announcement this morning. The Blackhawks and Coyotes will square off for Game 5 of their first-round series later tonight. The Coyotes lead the series 3-1.
USA Today reports that the suspension could be completed during the playoffs (the Coyotes would have to make it to the Stanley Cup with several 7-game series) but will most likely carry-over into next season.
League disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, said that Torres’ hit was “violent and dangerous” and “caused a severe injury.” Shanahan also said that the NHL considered Torres’ violent history when handing out his suspension.
“Despite knowing that Hossa no longer has the puck, Torres decides to finish his check past the amount of time when Hossa is eligible to be body-checked… While we acknowledge the circumstances of certain hits may cause a player’s skates to come off the ice… on this hit, Torres launches himself into the air before making contact… The position of Hossa’s head does not change just prior to or simultaneous with this hit. The onus, therefore, is on Torres not to make it the principal point of contact. By leaping, Torres makes Hossa’s head the principal point of contact.”
Torres was forced to sit out of game four and will obviously not be playing tonight. Hossa also missed game four due to the hit and the Chicago Suntimes reports that he did not travel to Phoenix with the team for the game tonight.