| Raffi Torres suspended 41
The Sharks forward levels his own team by
incurring the death penalty
One of the intangibles that was missing from the
Sharks game last season was the big hitting presence on the ice that made the
opposition worry more about getting popped and less about moving the puck.
After Raffi Torres tore up his knee, that presence turned into a void. With the
start of the regular season looming, Torres created another void on Monday
after learning that he won't be skating for San Jose until the second half of
the 2015-16 NHL Season. Torrres will be sitting in the press box, watching
after being handed down a devastating 41-game suspension for his hit on Jakob
Silfverberg last Saturday night in Anaheim.
There's no way to defend
Torres for his latest transgression. His game is made of hits intended to knock
opposing players into the following week, which was certainly what he was
trying to accomplish when he lined up Silfverberg with a check that caught the
Ducks forward square in the chops.
Only Torres knows if there was
intent to target Silfverberg's head, but the reality is the Sharks forward
history is what did him in. Torres' list of debilitating hits is so long that
the NHL produced a video that went on and on, showcasing all the teeth rattling
checks that he's been suspended or fined for.
The video is almost
comical in its prosecution of Torres, outlining the hit from multiple angles,
and with a narrative that emphasizes the repeat offender status mentioning it
NHL executioner Patrick Burke mentions that Silfverberg was
not injured on the play once, but is quick to point out that Torres is a repeat
offender. Did I mention that Torres is a repeat offender.
has the distinction of incurring the 3rd longest suspension in league history.
Those 41 games will cost the Sharks and Torres $404,860 in salary, which will
go to the Player's Emergency Fund.
The salary is secondary to the real
punishment to San Jose. As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the
Sharks will not be allowed to backfill the roster spot vacated by Torres during
his suspension. That means the Sharks will only carry 22 players on the active
roster (teams dress 20 players each game).
San Jose won't be playing short-handed during any
game, unless of course Dustin Brown takes out another Sharks player's
knee...and goes unpunished for it. Unfortunately for Torres, he didn't learn
from the Brown / Tomas Hertl incident in that if you want to take out an
opposing player and not be punished for it, aim for the knees.
Sharks decision to move their top development affiliate into their own building
could provide some relief as they wait for Torres to clear his suspension. They
now have the luxury of moving players from the Barracuda to the big club by
having players already in town.
As of Monday night, the Sharks were
mum on the subject. They released nothing in terms of a press release or nary a
mention on the team website. That means the wheels are turning. If nothing
else, the Sharks are a calculating organization who will make every effort to
make lemonade from this festering bowl of turnips.
Torres still has
the right to appeal the suspension, which means he could actually be on the ice
on opening night in Los Angeles. The chances of that may be slim as Torres was
still nursing his injured knee back, while trying to get in to game shape. On
the other hand, Sharks GM Doug Wilson and Head Coach Peter DeBoer may just have
had enough of Torres' shtick and not want to have him anywhere near the ice in
order to prevent him form doing any more damage.
In the suspension,
the Sharks lose that distraction that was a huge void in their game last
season. There isn't anyone on the current roster that provides that same
factor, which will end up being the thing that hurts the Sharks the most.
Of course, Brown will be on the ice on Wednesday, so the Sharks may
simply want to focus on preserving their own health.
|What did you think of
this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums