Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Raffi Torres Adds to NHL's Playoff Pain

There is a lot of good to have come out of these NHL playoffs so far.

The games have been -- for the most part -- close, dramatic, edge-of-your-seat stuff. Exciting finishes, overtime games, upsets, and some great pace to games. It's enough to keep a hockey fan excited on a nightly basis.

Unfortunately, the controversies are getting close to outweighing everything good that has happened. There have been dirty hits, suspensions, non-suspensions, injuries, non-injuries, and all the like. It's been tough, because the negative attention seems to be all that some (ahem, ESPN) want to heap on the sport, despite everything great that has happened so far.

The latest controversy came Tuesday night in Chicago. Phoenix pest Raffi Torres -- who was featured in a Chicago Sun Times article Tuesday playing dumb about why Blackhawks fans hate his guts -- was at it again, laying an exceptionally dirty and dangerous hit on Chicago forward Marian Hossa.

For a player with a past like Torres, this is as much a request to be suspended for a long time as anyone could possibly concoct.

(Well, unless you're Coyotes TV analyst Tyson Nash, who called it "as clean a hit as you'll ever get." Hey, not everyone on Earth is blessed with vision.)

This is not what the NHL wanted. There have been six suspensions since Sunday, and now you can add at least one more to the list. And it should be the longest.

The three-game ban Chicago's Andrew Shaw got for his hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith made me think NHL discipline guy Brendan Shanahan had seen enough. A four-game suspension to Pittsburgh's Arron Asham for his shenanigans Sunday gave me more evidence toward that.

If Torres doesn't get a double-digit suspension, we're back to the drawing board.

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