Ice Hockey: Sharks’ Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension, reports say

It seems like currently suspended San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Canadian sports broadcaster Sportsnet are reporting that Torres will not be appealing his lengthy 41-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks star Jakob Silfverberg.

Sportsnet’s report comes days after the National Hockey League (NHL)’s decision to hand the 33-year-old one of the longest suspensions in league history. They cited both the severity of the hit on Silfverberg and Torres’ length history of rule breaches.

However, there has been some speculation and thought that Torres would try to challenge his latest disciplinary ruling as he has a history of success when it comes to things like this.

In 2012, Torres successfully appealed a 25-game suspension for a headshot on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. As a result, he got his punishment reduced to 21 games.

He is also not considered to be a ‘repeat offender’ under the league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), as his last suspension came in 2013.

However, part of that clean record is because he hasn’t played much. He’s been sidelined by injuries for the past two seasons and missed all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman investigated the ‘repeat offender’ thing in his latest column. He said: If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

If this report is accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal his suspension, he will be eligible for return on Jan 14, when the Sharks host the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center.

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Ice Hockey: San Jose Sharks’ Torres suspended 41 games for illegal check to the head

San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres will sit out the first half of the 2015/16 National Hockey League (NHL) season, the Department of Player Safety announced on Monday.

The 33-year-old has been suspended for 41 games following an interference call and an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg during the first period of a pre-season game at Honda Center on Saturday (October 3).

Torres caught the Swede off guard with a vicious elbow to the head. He was assessed a match penalty as a result – meaning he was ejected from the game and suspended for the next.

Silfverberg did not return to the ice after the play, having been left out for precautionary reasons.

Torres’ latest suspension is the most severe punishment from the NHL for on-ice discipline in almost eight years and is a move which is almost certain to catch the eye of players around the league.

It is also the second longest in the modern NHL era, behind a one-year suspension for Marty McSorley in 2000 when he hammered Donald Brashear, then a Vancouver Canuck, over the head with his stick and a lifetime ban for Boston’s Billy Coutu when he attacked a referee in 1927.

The last suspension of this severity handed down by the NHL was a 25 game suspension for New York Islanders forward Chris Simon for skate-stomping Pittsburgh’s Jarkko Ruutu in 2007.

Torres may appeal his latest suspension, his ninth for an illegal check to the head, to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. He previously appealed his 25-game suspension from a playoff game in April 2012, during which he illegally checked Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the head and as a result got his sentence reduced to 21 games. He served 13 of those in the playoffs before that sentence was reduced in the summer and then served another eight games at the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2012/13 season.

San Jose traded a third-round draft pick in order to acquire Torres on April 3 2013 and, in the beginning, his record wasn’t exactly clean. He earned another suspension for the remainder of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a head shot on former Los Angeles Kings centre Jarret Stoll. He was then signed to a three-year contract extension.

Torres is now in the final year of that deal, earning $2.125million this season. However, under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and based on his average annual salary, he will forfeit $440,860.29, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.