Raffi on the rampage: Torres history

In the wake of his hit on Marian Hossa and forthcoming suspension, here's a summary of contentious incidents involving NHL forward Raffi Torres.
Sean Couturier of Philadelphia is just one of a number NHL players who've taken the brunt of a borderline or illegal hit from Phoenix forward Raffi Torres. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Raffi Torres has "played on the edge" — to quote every hackneyed player-turned-pundit — from the beginning of his career, with weird clusters of consistently dirty play.

It would be easy to characterize 2011-12 as Torres's "annus horribilis", but in truth the last 16 months have seen an uptick in incidents involving Torres, to a degree that it can't just be solely chalked up to the fact that games are meta-analyzed in this age of social media.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett earlier this week said Andrew Shaw's hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was the "exact hit" the NHL needs to rid from the game. 

The following is a list of some Torres hits through the years.

You can certainly debate individual hits — Torres occasionally gets banished to the box because of his reputation, and his last year in the Western Conference final on Joe Thornton was a clean-ish game changer (i.e., legal, but a bit cheap).

But there are patterns and hallmarks. Torres has loved firing down the wing and blasting a guy who had just turned from behind the net. Throughout his career, he's left his feet before impact.

About the best you can about Torres is that he doesn't shrink away when opponents drop the gloves following one of his contentious hits. Which may be damning him with faint praise if you don't believe fighting should be in the game in the first place.

To quote The Temptations, when Tippett made his quote he was "standing on shaky ground" with a charge like Torres on his team.

Special thanks to the and in compiling this list. We won't be adding to this list, but if you notice inaccurate details about the incidents below, let us know in the comments.

May 8, 2005

  • Torres team: Edmonton
  • Opponent: Milan Michalek, San Jose
  • Penalized: Interference (2)
  • Injury: Michalek missed next 2 games.
  • Hallmarks: Old school blindside hit (think Chris Neil on Chris Drury, Mike Richards on David Booth, Cooke on Marc Savard). Opponent's let go of puck.

Nov. 8, 2006

  • Opponent: Jason Williams, Detroit
  • Penalized: No
  • Injury: Williams misses 3 games.
  • Hallmarks: Opponent coming from behind the goal line, has let go of puck.

Dec. 12, 2006

  • Opponent: Dan Hamhuis, Nashville
  • Penalized: Fighting (5)
  • Summary: Fights Shea Weber after shoving Hamhuis into the boards.

Oct. 20, 2007

  • Opponent: David Moss, Calgary
  • Penalized: Tripping (2), Fighting (5)
  • Hallmarks: Blindside hit
  • Fined/suspended: Fined $2,500 US

March 29, 2009

  • Torres team: Columbus
  • Opponent: Patrik Berglund, St. Louis
  • Penalized: Interference (2)
  • Hallmarks: Opponent behind the goal line, has let go of puck, can't possibly prepare.

Dec. 23, 2009

Feb. 22, 2011

April 5, 2011

  • Opponent: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton
  • Penalized: Elbowing (5), Fighting (Ryan O'Marra), Game misconduct
  • Hallmarks: Opponent behind goal line, high target.
  • Suspended/Fined: 4 games

April 17, 2011

  • Opponent: Brent Seabrook, Chicago
  • Penalized: Interference (2)
  • Injury: Seabrook missed 2 games.
  • Hallmarks: Behind the goal line, high target, opponent can't prepare.

May 22, 2011

  • Opponent: Joe Thornton, San Jose
  • Penalized: Interference (2)
  • Hallmarks: Opponent can't prepare.
  • Injury: Thornton doesn't miss games, but was red hot before the play and had no points in subsequent Games 4 and 5.

Nov, 19, 2011

Dec. 3, 2011

Dec. 28, 2011

Dec. 29, 2011

  • Opponent: Jan Hejda, Colorado
  • Penalized: No
  • Hallmarks: Hits head, long after the play
  • Fined/suspended: $2,500 US


Jan. 3, 2012

  • Opponent: Nate Prosser, Minnesota
  • Penalized: No
  • Hallmarks: Leaves feet, charge
  • Fined/suspended: 2 games


Chris Iorfida

Senior Writer

Chris Iorfida, based in Toronto, has been with CBC since 2002 and written on subjects as diverse as politics, business, health, sports, arts and entertainment, science and technology.