The Washington Times - April 21, 2012, 02:27PM

BOSTON | Raffi Torres’ status as a repeat offender with predatory hits to the head contributed to his receiving a 25-game suspension for injuring Chicago Blackhawks Marian Hossa on Tuesday night. The Phoenix Coyotes forward will miss at least the rest of the playoffs and likely more, as it will carry over into next season.

I think [Brendan Shanahan is] sending a message there,” Washington Capitals right wing Mike Knuble said. “I don’t know all the circumstances. They’re talking about multiple offenses on one hit and the fact that he was a second, third-time violator, whatever they call it. But that certainly makes a statement.”

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Probably more a statement about Torres’ history than anything else. But Shanahan spelled out the circumstances in announcing the ban, saying “this was a dangerous and violent hit that violated three NHL rules.” It was not called as a penalty in the game, but Shanahan said it was an illegal check to the head, interference and charging.

Obviously they’ve been cracking down all year on hits and head shots and stuff like that so it really doesn’t change the game plan they’ve been doing it all year,” Caps forward Jay Beagle said. “Obviously with playoffs it gets ramped up a little bit more in the intensity you’ve just got to go out and play your game. Obviously no hits to the head and just play a physical game, but a smart game.”

Torres received supplemental discipline for similar hits on David Moss in October 2007, Patrik Berglund in March 2009, Jordan Eberle in April, and Jan Hejda and Nate Prosser in December.

Hossa’s had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher and went to the hospital. His “severe” injury played a role in the length of the suspension, Shanahan said.

The only way Torres’ suspension would not include his missing 2012-13 regular-season games is if the Coyotes play the maximum number of games: seven in each series, including the Stanley Cup Final. Barring that, he will not be eligible to participate in preseason games.

It’s tied for the third-longest suspension in NHL history.

The Torres verdict today is a little bit sobering for players,” Knuble said.

Here’s video of the suspension explanation, the hit and others: