Raffi Torres declined to appeal the 41-game suspension handed to him for his hit on Jakob Silfverberg Saturday night. On Thursday, he released a statement via the San Jose Sharks apologizing to the Anaheim Ducks forward and accepting his punishment.
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
That was followed by a statement from Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who traded for Torres in 2013 and later handed him a three-year contract:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg, by the way, said he plans to play in Anaheim's opener on Saturday against the Torres-less Sharks.
We’ve been down this road before with Torres. When he was given a 25-game ban (later appealed down to 21 games) for a hit on Marian Hossa during the 2012 playoffs, Torres he released an apology via the Coyotes and NHLPA. What happened next? He hit Stoll up high during the postseason a year later and was suspended for six games.
If Torres comes back and lays another bad hit on an opposing it will be interesting how the Department of Player Safety handles it.
Until then, we have to ask ourselves yet again: Will this 41-game suspension finally get the message through? Probably not. But when Torres’ contract ends after this season, and NHL teams stop calling, maybe then it will sink in.
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