GLENDALE - After meeting with several members of management late Sunday, Raffi Torres approached the media with sobering news.
"I've been informed that our new schedule shows my first game against the Blackhawks, after my suspension, will take place on February 7th. For my loved ones...to my family, friends, and fans...I'm sorry. I'm sorry it has to come to this. But at least now we have a date. At least now we have a date that we all know."
The much maligned Phoenix Coyotes forward has dished several questionable hits in his career. However, none of these hits were scrutinized more than Torres' hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It was obvious he was trying to hurt him," stated Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "He circled the ice looking for him, then he left his feet to make contact with the head. I just feel bad for his family. Now he has to go through something stupid that will end his career. And by 'something' I mean an injury. And by 'stupid' I mean Daniel Carcillo...Actually, just for further reference, whenever I say 'stupid', just assume I'm saying something in reference to Daniel Carcillo."
Torres' hit on Hossa brought forth a 25 game suspension by the NHL. The suspension was later reduced to 21 games. Since Torres missed 13 playoff games, he will only miss the first eight games of the 2013 campaign. The Blackhawks face Phoenix in the second game of the season on January 20th, however due to the suspension, Torres will not play. This leaves the Blackhawks' next game against Phoenix, February 7th, as the first time Torres will have to face the music.
"The National Hockey League owns the Phoenix Coyotes, and we will make sure that Raffi (Torres) has everything he needs leading up to his final meal," stated NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "The night of February 7th will be dedicated to honoring the career of Raffi Torres. Presents, speeches, etc. Then, at approximately the 10 minute mark of the first period, we will summon Daniel Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks to slash Torres on his knees. This will be followed by several punches to the lower body. The penalty will take place on the opposite end of the ice...knowing Daniel, this will probably take place when the Blackhawks are on a rush; if there's any chance you want somebody to break up his team's scoring opportunity for some personal revenge...then Danny is your man!"
Torres says he has no regrets of the incident.
"I chose this path."