Raffi Torres has thrown a lot of hits in his NHL career – 796, to be exact, since the 2005 lockout – but more than a few have gotten him in trouble with the league office. Here are seven plays that led to NHL punishment by the veteran winger signed to a professional tryout deal by the Carolina Hurricanes this week.
Date: May 8, 2005
Player Hit: Milan Michalek (Sharks)
Consequence: Minor penalty
In Torres’ first notable offense – but before the suspensions began raining down – the then-Oilers forward targeted the head of San Jose’s Milan Michalek for a blindside hit. Torres only received an interference penalty, as Michalek had given up the puck well before the contact.
Date: April 5, 2011
Player Hit: Jordan Eberle (Oilers)
Consequence: Four-game suspension
In a late regular season game in 2011, Edmonton forward Jordan Eberle was pursuing the puck into the corner of the offensive zone when Torres, playing for the Vancouver Canucks, ignored it sliding towards the boards and led with his elbow into Eberle’s lowered head. The four-game suspension was the first of Torres’ career.
Date: April 17, 2011
Player Hit: Brent Seabrook (Blackhawks)
Consequence: Minor penalty
In his first game back from the suspension – Game 3 of a playoff series against the Blackhawks – Torres smashed Chicago stalwart Brent Seabrook on an illegal hit. Seabrook was circling behind his own net and had his head down to watch the puck when Torres came around the opposite side of the net and drilled Seabrook’s head with his shoulder.
Date: December 31, 2011
Player Hit: Nate Prosser (Wild)
Consequence: Two-game suspension
Two days after drilling Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda in the skull and escaping with only a $2,500 fine, Torres lined up Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser, whose had just passed the puck up the ice, and launched himself several inches into the air to make direct contact with Prosser’s head. Prosser was uninjured on the play, but Torres was forced to sit for two games for the hit.
Date: April 17, 2012
Player Hit: Marian Hossa (Blackhawks)
Consequence: 21-game suspension
Exactly one year after the hit on Seabrook in the Canucks-Blackhawks series, Torres again knocked one of Chicago’s best players out of a series with a blindside hit. It was illegal in every way: Hossa had already passed the puck; Torres lined up the hit from some distance away; Torres targeted Hossa’s head; Torres left his feet during the hit. Hossa had to be stretchered off, and Torres received a 25-game suspension that was later reduced, upon appeal, to 21 games.
Date: May 14, 2013
Player Hit: Jarret Stoll (Kings)
Consequence: 6-game suspension
In the first game of a second-round playoff series between rivals San Jose and Los Angeles, Torres — then a Sharks player — came from beneath leaning-over Kings forward Jarret Stoll and knocked Stoll’s head with his shoulder. He was suspended for the remainder of the series, which ultimately equated to six games.
Date: October 3, 2015
Player Hit: Jakob Silfverberg (Ducks)
Consequence: 41-game suspension
Injuries kept Torres from playing much in the ensuing seasons, but he returned to the center of the NHL’s ire with a blindside check to Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg during the preseason last autumn. Torres targeted Silfverberg from four or five strides away and delivered a punishing shoulder to Silfverberg’s head. He was ejected from the game and, with his lengthy history considered, given the longest suspension in league history.