Torres, of course, received a 25-game suspension from chief disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his devastating open-ice check on Chicago Blackhawks' star Marian Hossa. That sentence ranks among the most severe ever announced by the NHL, and was significantly higher than what most observers had been predicting.
While most NHL suspensions are handed down following a brief conference call between the league and the player involved, Torres's fate was decided at a lengthy in-person hearing due to the severity of the incident and the expected punishment. These sort of hearings are rare, and it goes without saying that what happens during one is highly confidential.
At least, it's supposed to be. But thanks to some well-placed moles at NHL headquarters, I was able to obtain a detailed transcript of the day's events. Here's a timeline of how the hearing unfolded.
Friday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. - The discipline hearing officially begins.
10:01 a.m. - As always, Raffi Torres arrives just a little bit late.
10:23 a.m. - NHLPA head Donald Fehr peppers Brendan Shanahan with questions like "What precedents have been set in similar cases?" and "What is the appeals process?" and "Wait, I've been the head of the NHLPA for almost two years, why didn't anyone tell me?"
10:34 a.m. - Every time representatives of the Chicago Blackhawks begin to complain about how unfair it is to lose a superstar player to injury on a blatantly dirty hit, Daniel Sedin pokes his head in the door and say "Tell me about it".
10:41 a.m. - Brendan Shanahan begins a presentation showing other body checks Raffi Torres has thrown over the course of his career that also targeted the opponent's head.
11:53 a.m. - After the third intermission, everyone agrees that it might actually be quicker to just show a presentation of all of the body checks Raffi Torres has thrown over the course of his career that did not target the opponent's head.
12:05 p.m. - After collecting everyone's lunch orders for the local delivery place, referee Stephen Walkom spends the rest of the afternoon staring right at the telephone but being unable to make the call.
12:37 p.m. - When it's time for the part of the hearing where the offending team's ownership gets to present its case to the NHL front office, everyone feels slightly uncomfortable when Gary Bettman insists on acting out both parts of the debate using sock puppets with high-pitched accents.
1:03 p.m. - The hearing is briefly interrupted when Metta World Peace wanders in to ask Torres if he can reschedule his weekly "flagrant elbow to the head" lessons.
1:17 p.m. - To ease the tension, everyone has good laugh about how much the window-washer working on the outside of the building looks like Shea Weber, since he's tall and he has a beard and his "squeegee" is Henrik Zetterberg's face.
1:35 p.m. - A distracted Torres keeps losing his train of thought in mid-sentence whenever the league-appointed robotics engineer who built last season's Matt Cooke Docile-bot 3000 shows up and starts checking all his limbs with a tape measure.
1:56 p.m. - A tearful Marian Hossa describes the impact that his injuries have had on his life during an emotional moment that's later ruined when everyone realizes it was actually just Kevin Bieksa impersonating him.
2:02 p.m. - Torres and the Coyotes seem disappointed when they're informed that any appeals of player discipline decisions will be heard by the league's official arbitrator, a cardboard cut-out of Gary Bettman laughing and holding a sign that says "Appeal Denied".
2:16 p.m. - After being informed that he can expect a suspension that carries well into next year, a devastated Torres mumbles that he'll just have to work hard next season to get the Phoenix fans back on his side, causing everyone in the room to just stare at him before awkwardly mumbling "Um, yeah, Phoenix…"