The Tale of Tuesday: Raffi Torres, Duncan Keith, and Shea Weber
We had this one queued for yesterday. Good thing we never published it or, let’s be honest, found the energy to write it.
Because, it would be hard to write something about “repeat offenders” in the National Hockey League without mentioning journeyman forward Raffi Torres, who some liken to Ogie Ogelthorpe and some liken to scum, as dramatic a comparison as either may be.
On Tuesday night, Raffi Torres launched his body at an innocently open and unassuming Chicago Blackhawk, Marian Hossa, destroying the boy’s shoulders while in orbit and, subsequently, crushing his head.
Torres will receive (we can figure) about eight games for this. Maybe more. Maybe, he’ll be done for the season. Or, given the precedent that has been set for “hits” and “collisions” like this all season – or that grey area that all of these kinds of “I Walk The Line”-style body cannons fall into – he’ll get four or five games and come back for the Coyotes in Round Two.
But, you see, the NHL has a problem. It can’t separate one incident from the other, and neither can we. And, it clouds our vision. Because, while Torres might deserve a larger suspension because he is a repeat offender, it doesn’t mean that first-timers should get off with a warning. And, they have been.
In the end, Raffi Torres should receive a large suspension because he has had prior convictions, but that’s not the end-all-be-all. In all likelihood, Torres does deserve eight-to-10 games, but he would deserve that regardless of his past crimes, and his list of past crimes is… checkered.
It shouldn’t matter that Chicago’s Duncan Keith is still playing after an even-dirtier act in March – an elbow to the head of Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, an injury that the never-hurt Twin has still not returned from. It shouldn’t matter than Chicago’s Andrew Shaw was, like, just suspended three games for hitting Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith.
It shouldn’t matter at all. And yet, somehow, it does.
Worst of all, while Torres’s act on Tuesday – and, it was deplorable – will be put under the microscope because, you know, he’s scum and all and he’s done it before, Keith is still playing because his elbow to the head of Daniel was his first infraction.
And, what about Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, who went all WWE on the head of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, by grabbing it with his right hand and slamming it point-blank into the end boards? Weber is still playing, and is scoring.
The reasoning, of course, was that Weber had never offended before.
But, in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t have been hard to see Shea get 10 games for that act. Keith, 10 or 15. Torres, yea. Same deal.
They’re all separate incidents, and at least coaches have the benefit that fact. Chicago’s Joel Quenneville certainly does, and he seems to have either the memory of Dori from Finding Nemo, or the tunnel vision of an F1 driver on blood thinners.
He called the officiating “a disgrace” in Tuesday’s game.
Sure. But, while Marian Hossa never deserved any kind of karma for the history of violence that his teammates carry around the home of Al Capone like a medal of hono(u)r, Quenneville and the Hawks have no right to play possum, or to preach oppression.
This season, Keith and Shaw have combined for a light eight games of suspensions and, earlier in the year, Daniel “Car Bomb” Carcillo got seven games for ramming Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert into the end boards at the Madhouse on Madison.
Seven games? Not nearly enough. Luckily, Gilbert finished the season. Luckily, Gilbert didn’t fracture his spine like Jason Street.
And, what about Torres’s past, because there is more controversy there than a Dallas book depository.
Many people remember Torres’s hit on Chicago’s Brent Seabrook in last year’s Western Conference quarterfinal. That, of course, never got the man a suspension. It shouldn’t have. Was it dirty? Yes, but only in the same way that Dustin Brown’s hit on Henrik Sedin on Sunday was dirty.
Does that not make sense? Well, a hit can be gratuitous and it can be excessive and it can have intent, which would make it dirty, in the sense of humanity. But, if the hit takes place within the NHL’s rule book, then it’s legal and it can’t be suspended. Torres’s hit was legal. So was Brown’s. They were just icky.
Torres was, however, suspended towards the end of the 2011 regular season for a hit to the head of Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle. Four games. Of course, Eberle wasn’t looking, head his head down, and was crouched. If Torres didn’t hit Eberle’s head, he’d be a humanitarian. Still, four games, and the history of violence was launched.
At this rate, it appears that Torres’s status as a repeat offender is a little overblown. But, wait…
This January, Torres delivered what may be his dirtiest single act to date, with a deliberate aimed elbow to the head of Colorado Jan Hejda. See for yourself. Hejda actually attemptes to move out of the way of the hit, which is actually a no-no for any young hockey player, but Torres’ aim is clear.
That got no suspension.
And then, like, a day later or something, Torres flattened Minnesota’s Nate Prosser and received a two-game suspension. The hit, really, was clean. No elbow, no intentional force, and it was a good, solid check.
But, he left his feet. Two games. Okay, fair enough. He left his feet.
At the same time, where is the two-game suspension for every routine charge and “leaving his feet” shot that Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall delivers? Kronwall is known as one of the best bodycheckers in the NHL, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any one from his catalogue that is a definite, no doubt, clean hit.
They’re all dirty. Every one of them. He either leaves his feet, or he puts his fists in someone’s face. And, like Torres, he does it because he’s not strong enough or big enough to hit someone head-on and clean.
So, you have a cast of villains, highlighted right now by Raffi Torres and Dan Carcillo. Aaron Asham is part of the club, too.
Hell, Ben Eager shouldn’t even be allowed to play anymore.
But then, what about the stars? What about Duncan Keith, and Shea Weber, and Niklas Kronwall? Where’s their punishment, or will they glide along the surface forever, never feeling the wrath of the NHL simply because they’re good at scoring goals, too?
Keith and Weber are like dirty cops, putting their hands on their hearts and pledging allegiance while simultaneously shaking down dealers for a few extra bucks for coffee and donuts. They’ll arrest murderers and thieves, but they’ll shoot someone in the back, all the same.
And, worst of all, what about the guys who are discussed like collateral? What about Daniel Sedin, and Jan Hejda, and Marian Hossa? Because, at the end of the day, those stars shouldn’t be paying for the NHL’s failure to crack down on its deceptively dirtiest.
White Cover Staff
White Cover Magazine is the "foremost" source for "male" and "female" things in the world today. Kind of. We have Sports. Movies. Arts. (What are Arts?) Television. Music. And, of course, a critical look at everything in the world of Journalism, Sports Journalism, and News at large.
Popular on Facebook
- Could Mumford & Sons Get Any More Loveable? - by Turner Lavoie Haight-Ashbury Correspondent, White Cover Magazine ... ow.ly/2x9VVG 6 hours ago
- Could Mumford & Sons Get Any More Loveable? wp.me/p2YaL5-N4 6 hours ago
- I want it to be sunny. And I want to live all day in a Bud Light Lime commercial. 8 hours ago
- Are the Ottawa Senators Really Canada's Team? Well, They Better Be ow.ly/2x8K1G 1 day ago
- What say you, Canada... Are the Ottawa Senators your team, or is it too late to ask?... fb.me/1aiwsAWEJ 1 day ago
Add Widgets (Tertiary Sidebar)
This is your Tertiary Sidebar. Edit this content that appears here in the widgets panel by adding or removing widgets in the Tertiary Sidebar area.