Raffi Torres will turn 35-years old on October 8th. He hasn’t played an NHL game since April 30th, 2014 (when the Sharks were eliminated from the postseason). He has been suspended five times during his NHL career, the latest lasting 41 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs, after agreeing to acquire his rights in a deadline deal last year, immediately loaned him back to his current AHL team, not wanting any part of him in their organization.
But somehow, he’s earned a professional tryout from the Carolina Hurricanes this fall and will skate to try and snatch a spot on their fourth line. In a piece by Chip Alexander of The News & Observer today, Torres and GM Ron Francis talk about his latest (and possibly last) opportunity in the NHL.
“I know I’ve got to change. I know I say that over and over, but I’ve got to change and I can change,” says Torres when speaking about his suspensions. He admits that what he’s done over his career is wrong, and seems genuinely convinced he could offer something to the Hurricanes this season. Francis, for his part says he has “served his time” and is willing to at least give him a look this fall. If he does make the roster, he’ll be joining his eighth NHL team in 16 years. Here is more from around the league:
- Among the news that Sean Monahan is still too injured to participate in the upcoming World Cup, Wes Gilbertson of Postmedia tweeted out another interesting injury tidbit. Jyrki Jokipakka, who underwent hip surgery at the end of the season is now expected to be “good to go” for the tournament. Jokipakka was part of the return for Kris Russell this past year, and was well received in his 18 game Calgary stint. He’ll be suiting up for a Finnish team that is looking like a darkhorse candidate; Patrik Laine recently won tournament MVP at the World Championships, while the goaltending tandem of Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask should be among the best.
- Staying with the World Cup, Rob Vollman of NHL.com published a piece that says the possibility that the North America team wins the tournament isn’t necessarily a long-shot, due to the usual peak of physical performance around 24. Indeed, the youngster team led by Connor McDavid will have a speed advantage over the rest of the field, and can create offense at an elite level already. The one thing Vollman mentions as a weakness though, faceoff skill, was weakened today when Monahan withdrew. The Calgary centerman was clearly the best on the team in the circle, meaning players like Auston Matthews and Mark Scheifele will have to step up in the defensive end.