It was announced this morning by NHL dean of disclipline Brendan Shanahan that Raffi Torres would have a 25 game suspension from his predatory hit on the Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa in Tuesday's game three vs the Phoenix Coyotes.
I feel that is fair because it was an intended hit no where near the puck and Torres is a known hockey goon. Now Marian Hossa was carried off on a stretcher but like Dan Bernstien of WSCR 670 said earlier in the week, you cannot punish players based on the injuries of their victim. Its the intent and violent act not its physical consequences.
Granted the Hawks have had their share of goons over the years (i.e. Bob Probert), but playoff hockey is like the high holy days for those of us who follow the "Cold Steel on Ice". And cheap shots are not welcomed at anytime in the highest level of the game.
Now in game two the Blackhawks Andrew Shaw hit Phoenix goalie Mike Smith and that got Shaw a three game suspension and though I thought Smith overreacted to the hit, still goalies are sacred in hockey and despite Smith being out of the crease, its real simple you can't hit a goalie, even if he did hit our captain Jonathan Toews.
This all comes down to Brendan Shanahan not coming down hard on Shea Weber for him putting Hendrik Zetterburg's head in to the glass during the Detroit Red Wings vs Nashville Predators playoff serie prior to all of the Blackhawks violence. All Weber got was a $ 2,500 fine, no suspension. As many in the media proclaimed, it announced the opening of "goon" season in the NHL.
Now granted there are fights in hockey and it as much of a contact sport as demolition derby but its the intent to harm, cheap shots and dirty plays that are no where near the puck and have nothing to do with the game. I don't find that entertaining. I love the game of hockey and have followed it since my family got cable in the fall of 1988.
Think of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winning run in 2010, it had everything to do with playing top notch hockey and not beating the snot out of people. Granted the Blackhawks had defense like the US Army headed by Dustin Byfuglien but no one was carried out on a stretcher that post season like Marian Hossa was.
I know to some people hockey means tough teams like the Philadelphia Flyers lauded "Broad Street Bullies" of the 1970's and every NHL team having an enforcer to keep their stars from being pounded into the ice.
But the bigger issue is the health of NHL players and I know the NHL wants to look like that is their concern (just like the NFL), but they know blood & guts equals ratings but for some of us, we don't like the old cliche that a fight started and a hockey game broke out. This is a game of skill and needs to be regulated because this wild wild west mentality is not what hokcey is all about.
If I want to see a couple of guys beat each other into bad health, I'll watch a MMA cage fight.