Thursday’s NHL Stars: Raffi Torres, Mike Gillis, and the Calder Cup

Puck Daddy does this whole thing pretty well, this kind of “What happened today in the world of hockey?” thing. (Apparently, there’s a world of hockey.)

Today was a busy day in the NHL, and I won’t even take the time to sum up Boston’s win or L.A.’s win for you. (You can head to TSN for that.) Instead, today was a 24-hour binge of remedial headlines and controversial decisions, and there’s always a little fun to be had, courtesy of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs.

Enjoy.

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Raffi Torres is suspended for the remainder of the series…

It wouldn’t be the Stanley Cup playoffs if everyone was completely overreacting to something Raffi Torres has done, or unintentionally done. In 2011, Torres whacked Chicago’s Brent Seabrook with a darn good hit. He wasn’t suspended, but the Blackhawks were tweaked, and they took it out on the Canucks and their scoreboard.

Last year, Torres got 21 games (initially 25) for thumping another Chicago Blackhawk – Marian Hossa, that time – near centre ice. It was an ugly hit, because Hossa was injured and Torres appeared to leap a little just before contact, but you could also argue that Torres’s actions were still executed within the rules of hockey. Contrary to Hossa’s teammates earlier that same season, Torres didn’t shove anyone into the end boards at high speed or elbow someone in the face when he was nowhere near the puck.

But, I digress.

On Thursday, Torres was handed a suspension by Brendan Shanaban that will see him sit the remainder of his San Jose Sharks’ series against the Los Angeles Kings. Torres was no doubt suspended because of his reputation and because his target, Jarrett Stoll, was injured.

But, on first look and then second look and then every look after that, there’s almost little evidence at all to suggest that this kind of hit would warrant any supplemental discipline. When Shea Weber shoved Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass like it was a WWE turnbuckle, Weber played the next day.

Torres, though, is still paying the price for stuff he’s done in the past.

But, really, what is he supposed to do? Is he supposed to lay off every hit? No other player in the league does, with the exception of Sami Salo.

Torres is a sandpaper player and he’s been great for the Sharks these playoffs. This witch hunt has gone on too long. If it’s not dirty, he doesn’t deserve to be suspended – and, it shouldn’t matter whether Stoll is injured or not.

Mike Gillis apologizes. Kind of...

The Vancouver Canucks were booted from the NHL’s first round for the second time in two seasons, and their players showed more hustle heading to Europe for the 2013 World Championships than they did in four full games against the San Jose Sharks.

So, general manager Mike Gillis issued his fans something like an apology on Thursday, although it never quite made it all the way there. It was a ‘Thank You’ note, if anything, and it’s certainly well-intentioned.

Our answer?

Mike, thank us by making the second round. Or, at least win one game.

Here it is:

To all Canucks fans,

Thank you for you passion and support for our team; it is an honour and a privilege to host and play in front of you. However, this season and the way it ended was a disappointment to all of us.

Everyone in our organization expects more – and we know you do as well. It is my responsibility as the leader of this organization to evaluate all aspects of our hockey club and find ways to improve. This off-season will lead to difficult decisions including roster adjustments and changes in personnel. We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves in order to be successful.

On behalf of our entire organization, I thank you for your loyalty and assure you we will work as hard as we can to make you proud and to ultimately win the Stanley Cup.

Sincerely,

Michael D. Gillis

The Calder Cup playoffs are gosh darn exciting sometimes…

Thanks to SendToNews video distribution service and the always-pumped-up hockey-ness of several minor leaguers who are fighting for their professional lives – and who no doubt see an NHL contract on their horizon, as long as they’re desperate enough to play for it – we are proud to present this highlight reel: