Raffi Torres Suspended Pending Player Safety Hearing

San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres has found himself again at the mercy of the Department of Player Safety. Torres has been pre-emptively suspended one game pending the results of a hearing for a head shot he took on the Anaheim Ducks’ Jakob Silfverberg in a preseason game on Saturday, according to Darren Dreger.

There aren’t many good angles of the hit, but it looks deliberate and ugly, with Torres extending his elbow as he passed by Silfverberg to take a hit on the young forward where the only point of contact appears to be Silfverberg’s head and Torres’s elbow.

Torres was ejected from the game for the below hit.

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As TSN’s Bob McKenzie points out, Torres isn’t technically considered a repeat offender because he has no suspensions in the last 18 months. Though, this situation highlights the absurdity of that rule, with Torres not playing at all last season after re-injuring his knee in a preseason game. The season before that? Same knee problem kept him out of all but five games for the Sharks.

Here’s a slowed down look at the hit.

So, in the last two seasons Torres has played five regular season games (and seven playoff games). The season before (2012-13) is the year the Sharks acquired him and his season ended during the playoffs with a suspension for a head shot on Jarret Stoll.

That hit, seen in the video below, is similar to the hit on Silfverberg, with Torres cutting across the opponent and extending into the opposing player to make contact with the head.

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Prior to that hit on Stoll, Torres was the recipient of the NHL’s third longest suspension ever, earning a 25-game suspension (later reduced to 21 games) for a head shot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in April 2012. That was the third longest suspension in NHL history.

There’s a history here. He also received a four-game suspension in 2011 for a headshot on Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle while playing for the Canucks. In the fall of 2011 he was given a $2,500 fine for hitting Colorado’s Jan Hejda in the head with his forearm. Two nights after that he got a two-game suspension for hitting the Wild’s Nate Prosser in the head.

With all of these incidents (four suspensions for headshots and one fine for a headshot), Torres has built a significant history of targeting opponents’ heads and that may make this suspension longer than expected.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times that Silfverberg is ok and that he was held out of the rest of the game as a precaution. Though, we should know at this point that it’s probably too early to know if Silfverberg has a concussion, since symptoms are not always immediately apparent.

Player Safety has made the decision to give Torres a hearing, which, according to DoPS, is scheduled for Monday. Torres waived his right to an in-person hearing as well, which means the league is able to suspend him for five or more games. (If he accepted the in-person hearing the suspension would be the same, but the hearing would likely be delayed so that he could appear in person.)

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