Sharks

Sharks' Torres: 'I'm the guy that keeps making mistakes'

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Sharks' Torres: 'I'm the guy that keeps making mistakes'

Editor's note: The above video is from SportsTalk Live on Oct. 6.

SAN JOSE – Immediately after hitting Jakob Silfverberg up high during a preseason game in Anaheim on Oct. 3, Raffi Torres had no illusions that he was in trouble.

Again.

“I kind of knew right way. It’s one of those things where I need to be starting at the guy’s chest, not his head,” Torres said. “I lost my train of thought for half a second. I was coming a little too quick, and once I saw him pull up I was like, ‘oh man.’ It’s hard for me to pull out of those hits, but I know I can do it. I just made that one mistake.”

One mistake, maybe, but it was the latest in a series of illegal checks to the head by Torres, whose rap sheet includes 21-game suspension for hitting Chicago’s Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs.

The Silfverberg hit earned him an historic 41-game suspension that won’t expire until the Sharks host Edmonton on Jan. 14.

[KURZ: Sharks morning skate: Martin still out as Kings invade San Jose]

Torres, who was on the ice with his teammates for the morning skate on Thursday, spoke publicly for the first time since the NHL issued the half-season ban. He struck an accepting tone as to why he’s not allowed to play for the first three-plus months.

“I understand that part of the game. We’re taking a big look at it to try and get it out of there,” he said. “I’m a culprit. I’m the guy that keeps making mistakes. This one stung. Not that the last ones didn’t, but it’s tough.”

He decided in conjunction with his agent to not appeal the suspension.

“We just didn’t feel as a group that we were going to have much of a case,” he said.

Torres has played in just 12 games since the start of the 2013-14 season, missing all of last year with ongoing right ACL issues. In the late stages of training camp he was a near lock to make the team, and would likely have started the season in a fourth line role.

“I put the time in, and the work, and all that stuff that you need to do to be ready. I was actually feeling really good going into that game. It’s unfortunate. I’m disappointed in myself for losing my head for a second there, and it cost me.”

Currently, Torres is a non-roster player for the Sharks. The plan for now is to have him take part in game-day skates, but he won’t be practicing on a full time basis just yet.

His future with the club is still murky, since it’s impossible to predict where the Sharks will be in mid-January. His health is still a question mark, too. Whether he can still be an effective NHL player on an everyday basis is unknown.

Torres, though, feels good. At one point, he even referred to the suspension as a “blessing in disguise” for his knee.

“I’ll be ready, for sure. I can never say if I can be in or not, because I don’t make that decision, but I know for me, physically, mentally I’ll be ready to go,” Torres said. “I feel great right now. I’m not having any issues with my knee. I’ll be a good teammate here.”

Torres remains popular in the dressing room, according to coach Pete DeBoer, who was happy to have the forward back on the ice.

“I like him around the team. He’s a good teammate, he’s a good guy,” DeBoer said. “The guys respect him.”

When the Sharks acquired Torres on April 3, 2013, the thought at the time was that he had changed his game as a result of the Hossa hit and suspension. He gave the Sharks an energetic boost after joining the club late in the shortened season, and the team was playing its best hockey headed into the playoffs.

Then came the controversial hit on Jarret Stoll in the first game of the second round. It’s still highly debatable as to whether that hit warranted a suspension at all, and Wilson earned a $100,000 fine from the NHL after pointing the numerous inconsistencies in the league’s ruling.

Wilson is still supportive of Torres, according to the player.

“I feel disappointed that I’ve been letting him down the whole time,” Torres said. “He’s a big help. He says a few things to me daily, and it helps be out, big time. It keeps me pushing, it keeps me working, to know that one day I’ll be able to pay him back with the way I play out there.”

Hurricanes poke fun at Petr Mrazek after fighting Sharks' Joe Thornton

Hurricanes poke fun at Petr Mrazek after fighting Sharks' Joe Thornton

Thursday night’s matchup between the Sharks and the Carolina Hurricanes featured quite a ruckus, which began when Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek slashed Sharks veteran Joe Thornton after a play, prompting Thornton to put Mrazek on his back with a vicious forearm shiver.

During Friday morning’s practice, the Hurricanes decided to have some fun with their goalie by drawing an outline of where their net-minder gracefully hit the ice.

Mrazek remained on his back for several minutes after the blow but remained in the game.

[RELATED: What we learned in Sharks' shootout loss vs. Hurricanes]

The Sharks and Thornton may have won the fight, but the Hurricanes won the game 3-2 in a wild shootout.

Sharks say Petr Mrazek 'flopped', got what he deserved from Joe Thornton

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Sharks say Petr Mrazek 'flopped', got what he deserved from Joe Thornton

There was no shortage of electricity in Thursday night's rumble between the Sharks and Hurricanes, which San Jose got a point out of after falling 3-2 in the shootout

But the game really went on the verge of exploding when Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek went after Joe Thornton -- which unleashed some next-level fury that Sharks fans on social media like to refer to as "Angry Joe."

"Jumbo plays hard, and the goalie went after him," Logan Couture said after Thursday's loss. "So, I don't know if the goalie expected to get pushed like he did, but if you're going to go at someone you're probably going to get pushed."

Thornton went to give the puck a nudge as he skated by Carolina's net, realizing a bit late that Mrazek already had frozen it. But it was enough to irk the Canes' netminder, who then attempted to violently slash Thornton and subsequently stood up out of the crease as if to square off with the future Hall of Famer. 

Thornton responded with a half-push, half-punch to Mrazek's face, sending the goalie toppling over backward to the ice. Mrazek remained there as a scrum ensued behind Carolina's net. 

[RELATED: Watch Jumbo send 'Canes goalie to ice with forearm shiver]

"I think it definitely gets your group emotionally engaged in the game when you have a goalie swinging a stick at a guy like, but, as you saw, Joe can take care of himself," Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer chuckled. 

Even after Thornton was ushered over to the penalty box to serve two minor penalties, Mrazek was slow to get up off of the ice. The long delay in play left some wondering if Mrazek had a concussion, but he stayed in the game. 

This, of course, raised a couple of mid-game questions. Should Mrazek have come out of the game and gone straight into the league's concussion protocol? Was it actually the fall and not Thornton's force that caused him to labor on the ice for so long? Or, was Mrazek waiting things out so Thornton would receive more discipline?

Sharks goalie Aaron Dell offered up his two cents after the game. "He either got hit really hard and should have gone into concussion protocol or he flopped a bit, but I guess that's the ref's call," Dell said with a shrug.

Mrazek didn't offer up much to the media after the game, calling it a "cheap shot" by Thornton before saying he has suffered hits "worse than those, so it's not bad." So, perhaps we'll never know the real story.

While there is a lot of attention on his tiff with Mrazek, Thornton also deserves credit for playing an incredible game. He led the third line along with Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc to one of its most impactful games so far this season, and set up Sorensen for San Jose's first goal on the evening. With the Sharks' road trip continuing with a back-to-back this weekend against the Floridian teams, getting that kind of bottom-six contribution is vital.

"He's playing well," Couture said of Thornton. "We need [the third line]. Can't win with only the top six scoring. Some nights you need the bottom six to score, and I think that line's looked really good."