Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been handed a two-game suspension without pay for charging Minnesota Wild defenceman Nate Prosser on Saturday night.
The NHL's department of player safety announced the ban in a press release on Monday, just two days after it gave Torres a $2,500 US fine for elbowing Colorado Avalanche defenceman Jan Hejda on Thursday night.
The charging incident happened at 7:57 of the first period when Prosser was circling out of his defensive zone with the puck. Torres skated from centre ice and left his feet to launch himself at the defenceman, sending him sprawling to the ice.
"As the video shows, Torres approaches Prosser just inside the Minnesota blue-line as Prosser is making a pass up ice," NHL senior vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan explained in a video statement. "Torres is in position to make a clean, full body-check.
"However, rather than drive through his opponent's chest or shoulder, Torres rises up and leaves his feet prior to contact, launching himself into Prosser and making significant contact with Prosser's head."
Shanahan also asserted that in leaving his feet before making the hit, the Coyotes forward was in direct violation of the charging rule which prohibits players from doing so and was therefore deemed an illegal check.
He cited the 30-year-old as a repeat offender, noting he has been fined three times in his 10-season NHL career and was suspended last season for what he referred to as a 'similar play'.
The dean of discipline also took into account Prosser remained in the game without injury.
Torres, a native of Toronto, will forfeit $42,682.93 US in salary and have to sit out games against the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 3 and two days later against the Los Angeles Kings. He's eligible to make his return to action on Jan. 7 when the Coyotes play host to the New York Islanders.
The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
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