SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The NHL fined the San Jose Sharks $100,000 on Saturday for general manager Doug Wilson's comments criticizing the league for forward Raffi Torres' suspension for the rest of the second round of the playoffs.
The NHL said the fine was issued for violating a rule put in place earlier this year prohibiting formal team statements to the media during the 48-hour period following a disciplinary decision. The rule calls for an automatic $25,000 fine, and the Sharks were docked an additional $75,000 under an article in the league's constitution because of the "inappropriate nature of the comments."
Torres was suspended for the rest of San Jose's playoff series against Los Angeles on Thursday for an illegal check to the head of Kings forward Jarret Stoll during Game 1. The Kings took a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on Saturday night in San Jose.
Wilson said Friday that the organization strongly disagreed with the NHL's decision to suspend Torres.
"It is abundantly clear that this was a clean hockey hit," Wilson said in a statement. "As noted by the NHL, Raffi's initial point of contact was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on an opponent who was playing the puck. He did not leave his feet or elevate, he kept his shoulder tucked and elbow down at his side, and he was gliding — not skating or charging."
The team had no comment Saturday about the fine.
It is the fourth career suspension for Torres, who is considered a repeat offender in dangerous hits under the league's collective bargaining agreement.
Stoll was bent forward while trying to play a bouncing puck when Torres approached him from the side for a violent hit in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Stoll's head snapped back violently before he fell forward onto the ice. Stoll missed Game 2 and did not make the trip to San Jose for Saturday's game. There is no timetable for his return.
In an explanatory video released by Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's senior vice president of player safety, he said Stoll's head was "the principal point of contact" in the hit, creating grounds for suspension. Although Torres initially made contact with Stoll's right shoulder, Shanahan ruled that the shoulder hit was only a glancing blow, as evidenced by the direction both players traveled after the contact.
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