As the sport of hockey grows increasingly violent — especially around playoff time — it was only a matter of time before something truly brutal and inexcusable happened. The NHL has decided that Raffi Torres putting the hurt on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Coyotes-Blackhawks series was such an event. Torres will sit out the next 25 games.
At the time of the hit, I speculated that Torres would be out for at least the rest of the series. But this explanation by Brendan Shanahan of the Department of Player Safety (which, wow, there is such a thing?) does a great job of detailing why Torres is getting the book thrown at him, and rightfully so (via CBS Sports):
So, to recap: Torres left his feet, hit Hossa directly in the head, and did so after the puck had left Hossa’s possession. Plus, Torres has a history of needlessly beating the shit out of people on the ice, and this hit has kept Hossa out of the last two playoff games.
With all of these facts taken together, this 25-game ban seems, if harsh, justified. I for one applaud the NHL for taking a stand and delivering a message. If hockey is going to be incredibly violent, let it at least be policed, controlled violence.