Raffi Torres delivered what is believed to be a blindside hit to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook last night and likely will get suspended for some period of time.
James O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk discusses the hit itself and gives a lovely poll allowing you to voice an opinion on the hit and what the likely suspension should be while Ken Campbell of The Hockey News believes Torres should be suspended for the entirety of the playoffs.
Considering Matt Cooke received a suspension that only bars him from the first round of playoffs as a five-time offender are we to expect such a drastic penalty? Now that Torres is a repeat offender are we to look at him as a marked man on the ice, with the officials scrutinizing his every move?
Yes, and no.
Torres gets back from a four game suspension for an eerily similar hit to only do the same thing. However, at no point prior to this career has Torres been known as a dirty player. He actually entered the League as a top prospect when he was selected fifth overall in 2000 by the New York Islanders and while it became known that he would never reach the potential of the stars above him like Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik or even show the same scoring prowess he displayed in Juniors, his hard work and rugged edge helped the majority of his former teams. This became evident during during the Edmonton Oilers storied run to the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.
At what point do we draw the line between dirty hit and dirty player? Furthermore are these sanctions on hitting actually confusing the players?
This Vancouver Canucks winger clearly wanted to give his team a spark. As an energy-line type player he likely felt he needed to bring an even bigger presence into an important Game Three and tried to deliver an impact hit on an important player to the opposition.
His hit came from the blindside and could be seen as brutal but had Seabrook seen him coming would it have been so bad? Was Torres’ elbow up or did he board Seabrook? These are things that the War Room in Toronto will analyze shortly.
The definition of these types of hits still need clarification. However, Torres will not miss the rest of the playoffs, repeat offender or not. He is not Cooke.