After a seemingly interminable wait, Brendan Shanahan and the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced just hours prior to Game 2 of the series that Raffi Torres would be suspended for the remainder of the second round for his hit on Kings center Jarret Stoll on Tuesday night. Here's the explanation video released by the league in which Shanny admits that while Torres' initial point of contact was Stoll's shoulder, the prinicipal point of contact was the player's head. You know this is true and a totally legitimate distinction to make because Shanahan says it a bunch of times.
This is pretty clearly a reputation call but let's also not pretend Torres doesn't fully deserve his reputation. Staying out of the penalty box for a month or two doesn't magically erase the entirety of Torres' prior career and it makes sense to deny a player with a particularly gruesome history of on-ice sociopathy the benefit of the doubt. It's at the very least ambiguous whether Torres' collision with Stoll's head was the unfortunate aftermath of a legal shoulder check or Torres' true intention. Given his history, there's an argument to be made that the latter should be presumed.
Ultimately, the Sharks got what they traded for in Torres. A useful forward when in the lineup who provides some of the very ingredients the team previously lacked--speed, physical presence and a surprising amount of scoring touch--but also one who throws borderline hits like this one from time to time and is rightfully scrutinized for them more than perhaps any other player in the league. While there's no question losing him is a blow to the team, if Raffi Torres was the difference between the Sharks winning and losing this series, they never had a chance to begin with. In all likelihood, this doesn't change a whole lot, particularly if Martin Havlat is healthy enough to draw into the lineup when this series shifts back to the Bay Area.