We all remember the hit, so I won't post any pics or links to youtube. If we take out the small group of people who are either rabid Yotes fans or who long for the days of Scott Stevens blindsiding/concussing anyone who dared cross the blue line with the puck on their stick, I think we probably have a pretty wide consensus that Torres deserved to be suspended. Not only did the hit violate three rules according to Shannaban, but Torres is a repeat offender who arguably lives to hurt people. Additionally, Hossa was hurt badly by the illegal hit, which is a dubious but openly known standard in Shanahan's regime. All that said, the real reason for the extra long suspension though, in my opinion, is that the NHL wanted to suspend him for exactly the length of games left in the playoffs if the Yotes were to go the distance. They wanted him gone for the playoffs so they wouldn't have to keep talking about it.
In general, I have not been overly annoyed by the job Shanhan has done. I think he started out decently and was lowering the boom early to make it clear the rules had changed. However, once he started to dish out the hefty suspensions, I believe he was told to start toning it down once GM's started seeing their "guys who play with an edge" getting sat for long stretches. There isn't a ton of sympathy for a guy like Torres, or Doan or Cooke or Carcillo for that matter, to get Shanahammered and I think we can all admit these guys frequently cross the line of dirty. Still, by dishing out 25 games to Torres, Shanhan has put himself in a trick bag and he will have to either walk this suspension back or start the next season with substantially less credibility. While I don't think he will become as bad as Coley the Clown, I do think that he, like his predecessor, will begin losing control of his job. If that does happen, I think the GM's and to a lesser degree the fans, will be largely to blame.
With respect to Torres, if the 25 game suspension sticks, what do you when (not if) he next violates the rules? How do you give him less? Do you ban him when he makes a marginal hit that doesn't injure someone? 25 games had that OOOOOOOH! factor, but it also relieved Shanahan of having to make an honest and objective decision on how much punishment Torres should receive. Like I said above, I believe quite frankly he didn't want to deal with fans or the media and keep talking about it. So, he drops the hammer, kicks him out for the rest of the playoffs, and moves on. I don't believe Torres presence or lack of it had anything to do with the Yotes not advancing in the big scheme of things, I mean, it's not like that team has a shortage of guys like him. That said, now that the season is truly over, will many people outside of Chicago really care if he sits 15 odd games next season? I think probably not and though that's annoying in it's own right, it's not what bothers me the most if the suspension is reduced.
Players don't get paid in the playoffs anyway. Whether it's 25 games or more, in essence, a playoff suspension does not hurt a player financially. More importantly, when a player like Torres wipes out a player like Hossa, you can rightly question which team loses more when Hossa can't return and is possibly never the same player. The punishment here does not seem to fit the crime no matter what angle you look at it from and if it stands, I believe we will see even less appropriate discipline next season and beyond. Walking it back is not going to make any Hawks fans happy, myself included to some degree, but it probably needs to be done if what we want to see is even handed discipline that ALL players will be subject to. As it stands, nobody whines much when a douchebag is sat for 8 games or greater. But what about a guy like Keith or a guy like Hossa who almost certainly would have been suspended two years ago if he was on the douchebag list. Different types of players will likely always get differing length suspensions, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but when you make it ridiculous in order to avoid taking heat for the punishment you decide, you only make it harder to deal with down the road.
While some wail about the pussification of the game, I think it's time to ban head shots altogether and start the first suspension at five games and keep doubling it until at some number of games you decide a player sits for a season or is banned. Maybe that fixes part of the problem, maybe not. The other big piece of it is what GM's and fans want. GM's don't want their star players concussed, but neither do they seem to want their "edge" players sat for making "A tough hockey play". As for fans, some like myself do not really enjoy watching players twitch on the ice like Han Solo in carbonite, while others wish we could see that every game. This disconnect makes discipline completely arbitrary. While calls like boarding are not as straightforward, head shots seem a lot less complicated. Would auto suspensions for head shots be too rigid and ruin the game because no one could ever "make a hard hockey play"? I say no.
Anyway, we got nuthin else to talk about right now. Will Torres get his suspension reduced or not?
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