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Raffi Torres' 4-game ban, and what it means for Pens-Isles tomorrow

Canucks forward Raffi Torres got a unique four-game suspension for elbowing the Oilers' Jordan Eberle in the head on Tuesday -- the final two games of the regular season, plus Vancouver's first two playoff games.

The Matt Cooke ban aside, since Cooke is a special case, this is fairly unprecedented for the NHL and VP of operations Colin Campbell. Playoff suspensions are considered to be only for the worst of the worst -- and Adam Graves, for you long-suffering Rangers fans -- so this ban, from a meaningless game at the end of a Presidents' Trophy winning season for the Canucks and whatever the exact opposite of the Presidents' Trophy is for the last-place Oilers, could hurt the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorites.

Torres is a solid fourth-liner and power-play contributor for the loaded Canucks, so it'll sting, but not be too bad for them to be without him.

The suspension is likely designed more to have a chilling effect on any other players who might be inclined to get rough and step outside the hockey laws this final weekend... Say, a player from Pittsburgh who might want to settle a score with the lottery-bound Islanders tomorrow night.

After the Cooke suspension, I can't imagine Dan Bylsma would allow his team to lose focus at the Coliseum tomorrow. The Penguins still have a great shot at the Atlantic Division title and the No. 2 seed in the East, rather than staying in fourth to face the Lightning. So the Penguins and Isles should behave tomorrow night.

Now, the NHL has, at last, sent the message that the end of the regular season does not mean the end of any and all suspensions. Good for the league and all its players.


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