Now that both Todd McLellan and Doug Wilson have made their comments about Raffi Torres’ suspension and how they think it is bogus, a common theme has jumped out. They, and others, are quick to make the point that Raffi has done a lot to change his game, citing the few minor penalties he has taken since joining the Sharks.
That’s all well and good, but it would appear these yokels have sucked on a bit too much harbor fog and are having trouble seeing how reputations and punishment works.
I’ll start with McLellan, who said after the game yesterday:
“It really doesn’t matter what Todd McLellan thinks or what everybody else thinks now, because it’s been dealt with, and we have Game 3 now that we’re going to move ahead and prepare for without Raffi. But Raffi has our full support. As a player that’s worked hard to change his game, do I think that was anywhere near any of the other hits that he’s had in his career? Absolutely not.”
The part I bolded is what made my eyes cross. What is the insinuation here, that because Raffi has had a few good months of not severely concussing another human, taken with the fact that his hit on Stoll could have been worse, therefore… what? He shouldn’t have been suspended? I assume that’s his point, we know that’s what the entire Sharks organization thinks. And that’s fine, everyone has an observation bias on these things that slants in favor of their players, but the logic here is kind of disgusting.
Let’s apply this thought process to some other crimes.
“Why do you care that I stole your wallet? I didn’t rob the bank. I should get to keep your wallet.”
“Well, yeah I shot the guy in the face, but it’s not like I chopped him up and ate him like I used to do to people. Have a heart.”
“Listen judge, I know I raped a bunch of girls last year, but I’ve only fondled a tit or two since then, and this last rape, I didn’t even smack her around much! I don’t see what the big deal is.”
Makes sense, I can see where McLellan’s coming from.
Onto Doug Wilson, who released a statement today.
He argues that Stoll put himself in the vulnerable position, which has a modicum of validity to it, but only just. In reality, the angle that Torres took to hit Stoll, coupled with the fact that Stoll was bent down at the time Torres made the decision to hit Stoll (which is different than a player adjusting his position immediately before being hit once the decision to make the hit has been made), speaks to how dangerous of a hit this was. As Wilson states to open, “The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL in its efforts to remove illegal and dangerous hits from the game.” Sure, buddy, but not when it’s your guy making the hit.
But this isn’t what bothered me. Again, it’s the same mantra that came from McLellan, that Torres hasn’t fucked up in a while, so it’s unfair to judge him based on his history. Wilson says:
“Comparing the facts of this incident against the actual wording of Rule 48.1, it appears that the NHL has not only made an inappropriate application of this rule but is trying to make an example out of a player who is being judged on past events, one who has changed his game dramatically this season and taken only six minor penalties in 39 games.
We are proud of the work Raffi has put in to successfully adjust his game. Although it’s unfortunate that Jarret was injured on the play, we feel this decision is grossly unfair to the Raffi, his teammates and our fans. However, Raffi does not want to be a distraction to his teammates and has decided not to appeal this suspension and we respect that decision.”
A reputation isn’t made in 39 games of not taking someone’s head off. If a drug addict quits for a month or two and then smokes crack again, sorry, but he’s still a drug addict and his history of drug abuse is probably a good reason why he just smoked crack in your bathroom after excusing himself from playing pictionary with the fam.
Argue the logistics of the hit, fine. But spare me this sob story for Torres that he’s being mistreated because he’s done this exact same thing time and time again but not recently. The reaction should be, “damn, and Torres was doing so well!” and not “he was doing so well, so cut the guy some slack.”
Categories: L.A. Kings News