Coyotes' Torres handed 21-game suspension for playoff hit
(Reuters) - Phoenix Coyotes' Raffi Torres was handed a 21-game suspension for launching himself to deliver a late hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks player Marian Hossa during the playoffs, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced on Monday.
The illegal hit on the Blackhawks forward occurred during Game Three of the National Hockey League's Western Conference quarter-final series in Chicago on April 17.
Torres was originally given a 25-game suspension, but appealed the decision and later met with Bettman in New York to discuss the case.
"This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League," Bettman said in a statement.
"We have seen similar behavior before from Mr. Torres and, particularly given the league's heightened scrutiny on hits to the head, I believe that a very significant penalty is warranted in this case."
The length of the suspension includes the 13 games Torres already served during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, meaning the Phoenix forward will miss the first eight games of the upcoming regular season to complete the punishment.
Given his classification as a repeat offender, Torres will forfeit more than $170,000 in salary. He will also be ineligible to participate in any preseason games.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
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