NHL reduces Torres' suspension and its own credibility

Torres appeal

The Coyotes' Raffi Torres skates away after an illegal hit on the Hawks' Marian Hossa during the playoffs last seaso. (Scott Strazzante/Tribune Photo)

Remember how bad the officiating and supplemental discipline were during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Commissioner Gary Bettman apparently loved it so much that he decided to continue the stupidity Monday.

Bettman reduced Raffi Torres’ suspension from 25 games to 21 because, I guess, Marian Hossa didn’t die right there on the ice after Torres launched himself at the Blackhawks winger, aimed at Hossa’s head, completely disregarded the puck, and knocked him unconscious.

It was a perfect clip to demonstrate the exact behavior the NHL alleges that it wants to wipe out, especially from a career criminal.

So, of course, the NHL goes easier on the guy.

But wait. There’s more stupidity. Get a load of Bettman’s statement issued through the league’s spin doctors:

 “This type of on-ice conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League. 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. We hope and expect that the severity of this incident, and the League’s response to it, will help prevent any similar incident from occurring in the future.”

Does Bettman realize that he REDUCED the suspension? In the press release I received, there was zero explanation for reducing a suspension that wasn't enough to start with. Maybe Bettman is concussed himself.

Let’s go over that statement again: The conduct will not be tolerated, Torres has done it before, the league is scrutinizing hits to the head, and a significant penalty is warranted.

And Bettman REDUCED the suspension. REDUCED it, do you hear me?

Even for the NHL, this is dumb and embarrassing.

Apparently, when the league says “a very significant penalty is warranted,’’ it’s code for “we’re hoping enough idiots believe what we say instead of watching what we actually do.’’

Bettman should’ve heard Torres’ appeal and added another 15 games for his despicable, recidivist, head-targeting act.

But no. It’s OK for the kind of despicable, recidivist slugs the league wants to eliminate to turn skilled players the league wants to feature into bobblehead dolls.

I don’t know if the NHL will come to a new collective bargaining agreement with its players to start the season on time, but I know the league just locked out common sense, credibility and integrity. Hat trick.
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