Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Up With Torres' Suspension Reduction?

Yesterday, it was announced that Gary Bettman had reduced Raffi Torres suspension from the Brendan Shanahan sentence of 25 games to 21 games. Torres served 13 games in the playoffs this year, meaning he'll miss the 2012-13 preseason and the first eight games to start the regular season. While many believed the 25 game ban was excessive (although meant to keep Torres out of the playoffs), there were also many who applauded Shanahan for dropping the hammer with one of the biggest suspensions in NHL history. Pitchforks were grabbed when Torres announced he would be appealing (which he had every right to), and I think most fans assumed that whole process didn't work for him as almost 50 days had passed, but then we got a ruling just as CBA negotiations began to fire up. 

So what does this whole suspension reduction mean?

THE APPEAL PROCESS IS STUPID

While the NHL suspends players, they also hear the appeals from players and the NHLPA. The whole process is stinky. First off, you have the NHLPA appealing the suspension of a player they represent for a violent hit on another player they represent. Was their anyone to speak for Hossa at this appeal? Also, with no separate appeal route, Gary Bettman ultimately has to overrule what his appointed safety reps are doling out. Nobody looks good whatever the verdict is in any appeal case as the whole process is simply put, fucked. 

TORRES IS REWARDED WHILE HOSSA IS...?

Some may look at the reduction and think, "there's not much of a difference between 25 and 21 games", but there is. Thanks to the four game reduction, Torres will save $85,365.84 by being eligible in four extra games this season. That's not exactly peanuts to Torres who makes $1.75M as he would have really felt that hit in his wallet. It's not like Torres would be missed either; he had a career low 26 points last season and played 11 minutes/game. Marian Hossa is a career 400+ goal scorer who had one of his best seasons in 5 years last year. While Hossa is hopefully back for training camp, his concussion and training time missed can't be reduced and as the victim in this situation was only victimized again by the NHL reducing Torres' suspension.

 BETTMAN IS A HYPOCRITE 

“This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League. We have seen similar behaviour before from Mr. Torres and, particularly given the league’s heightened scrutiny on hits to the head, I believe that a very significant penalty is warranted in this case. We hope and expect that the severity of this incident, and the league’s response to it, will help prevent any similar incident from occurring in the future.” - Gary Bettman, April 21st, 2012
There's Gary agreeing with the suspension when Torres got Shannabanned. He says some strong words that now look make his stance on player safety pretty weak. He talks about the league's heightened scrutiny on hits to the head and believing a significant penalty was warranted in this case. Both true, hockey has taken a bad rep these past few years for vicious head hits and serious injuries occurring to all players, not just stars like Sidney Crosby. Dishing out a 25 game suspension sent a big message that is now a little lost thanks to a suspension reduction by the NHL's head honcho. 

We don't know if Torres deserved the initial 25 games, but we supported it, just like Bettman. It looked like a good deterrent and punishment for one of the worst offenders in the NHL, but by reducing the penalty it makes the NHL look bad in our minds. Torres looks bad for appealing. The NHLPA looks bad for defending Torres/not supporting Hossa. Shanny looks bad for giving an apparent too harsh of a sentence. Bettman looks bad for overruling Shanahan. And then there's Marian Hossa, who the last time we saw was being stretchered off the ice of the United Center.

3 comments:

  1. I don't see a big difference between 21-25 games. Both are serious suspensions, but you raise some great points. I didn't know Bettman said that when he was initially suspended. Certainly makes him look bad and the NHL for overstepping Shanahan.

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  2. Is Hossa even skating or able to yet?

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  3. Torres is a criminal, he should have been kicked out of the league.

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