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Torres suspension angers Sharks

The SportsXchange

San Jose forward Raffi Torres decided not to appeal his suspension for the remaining games in the Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Kings, but the that doesn't mean the Sharks are happy about the length of his banishment.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson responded Friday with a forceful statement, saying the organization strongly disagreed with the NHL's decision.

"We are proud of the work Raffi has put in to successfully adjust his game," Wilson said. "Although it's unfortunate that Jarret (Stoll) was injured on the play, we feel this decision is grossly unfair to the Raffi, his teammates and our fans.

"However, Raffi does not want to be a distraction to his teammates and has decided not to appeal this suspension and we respect that decision."

The Sharks believe Torres' hit on Stoll, who was knocked out of Game 1 and missed Game 2, was legal. Torres had the option under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to appeal the suspension, which was a minimum of three games and a maximum of six, to commissioner Gary Bettman.

"It is abundantly clear that this was a clean hockey hit," Wilson said. "As noted by the NHL, Raffi's initial point of contact was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on an opponent who was playing the puck. He did not leave his feet or elevate, he kept his shoulder tucked and elbow down at his side, and he was gliding -- not skating or charging.

"It appears that the NHL has not only made an inappropriate application of this rule but is trying to make an example out of a player who is being judged on past events, one who has changed his game dramatically this season and taken only six minor penalties in 39 games."

In the 2012 playoffs, Torres was suspended for 25 games after a hit on Chicago's Marian Hossa. Torres, then with the Phoenix Coyotes, appealed and the suspension was reduced to 21 games.

The latest suspension is the fourth of Torres' career, which makes him a repeat offender under the CBA.
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