On the eve of July 1 I was nervous about the re-signing status' of Chris Higgins and Raffi Torres. It was looking like neither would re-sign here. I was saying to people that if I had a choice I would prefer Raffi re-signing over Higgins if I had to choose one of the two. You know, don't get me wrong, I am now a huge Higgins fan and I'm glad he signed here. But I still would have rather kept Torres. It was his work ethic. It was his brutally physical game that he brought almost every night. No doubt he put the fear of god into players every time he was out there. That, plus chipping in timely goals with limited ice time made him one of my faves.
So when negotiations fell through with the Canucks and he signed a 2-year deal worth $1.75 million per season with the Coyotes I wondered: why the hell didn't Mike Gillis sign him to that kind of deal. Well, Raffi spoke to the Province on Saturday and let the cat out of the bag.
"I've loved watching Shane Doan play and there's some good young talent there," Torres said. "And I'll have a chance to have a bigger role there than I had in Vancouver. But most of all, I get a little security. I needed to have that security because I was making a decision for three, and not one. I had to think about my family."
"The Canucks wanted me back but for a year and at the same money. I didn't want to be in a position where I was on a tryout contract again. I have to move beyond that."
Ok, note that last sentence. The same
money? Torres made $1 million with the Canucks. Did he deserve to be on a tryout contract again? Hell no. Not after the season/playoffs that he had. So Gillis signs a health risk in Marco Sturm instead. Gillis feels that Sturm is more versatile in that he can use him in the top or bottom 6, which is true. And Torres couldn't bring that? Did he even get a fair shake to prove himself in the top 6? Hey, I'm not the coach/GM so I'm just venting here. Sure, we KNOW that Sturm can play anywhere on the roster. But Gillis signed him to a $2.25 million deal! Torres may have settled for $1.5, and I still think he could have brought more to the table if given a chance.
Oh well, it's over now. All we are left with are some solid memories of a beast named Torres. Notice I said "beast" and not "douche", which most other people who aren't Canucks fans refer to him as. Haters gonna hate. Not me.
Here's a little video compilation of a Canucks that left it all on the ice for his team:
A controversial pit bull no doubt about it. This crunch on Brent Seabrook was a head shot and I think woke up the Hawks in Round 1:
When Torres hit Seabrook it was his first game back after doing this:
OK, all the controversial ones are out of the way so let's move on. You know, he loves to demolish guys but I don't think he meant to hand out head shots. He just plays that old school hitting style and sometimes accidentally makes contact with the opposing players' head. Anyway, many will disagree and I don't care. Here's a beauty hit on Tomas Kaberle:
Raffi Torres scores with 19 seconds left in Game 1 vs the Bruins:
Torres fights Brendan Morrow:
Torres scores a hatty against his former team:
I don't think Jumbo Joe Thornton was the same after this hit:
Canucks score 2 in 39 seconds against the Sharks in the playoffs with Raffi scoring the 2nd one:
Smooth, Raffi. Smooth:
Torres walks the fine line with his hits and he may get into serious trouble next season if he catches another player in the head. Thems the rules now. But he remains unapologetic for it. He plays on the edge. He's an old-school kind of guy and I admire him for that. Hate on me all you want for saying that. But opposing players had better keep their heads up when Raffi is on the ice, and that's exactly what makes Torres successful/effective.
Best of luck in Phoenix, Raffi. Thanks for playing with heart as a Vancouver Canuck.