Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended six times in his NHL career, including a 25-game suspension during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.
Torres must sit out the first eight games of the 2012-13 season to finish that suspension, but when that's done, Torres hopes it's the final time he has to sit out due to NHL supplemental discipline.
"I can't afford to go through something like that again," Torres told the Arizona Republic. "There are some things that I'm going to have to change if I want to keep playing in this League at a competitive level, so I look forward to it. I know I can bring more to the game than just physical play."
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- One practice and discussion with his players was all it took for Team Orr coach Mike McPhee to realize times have changed from his playing days.
McPhee, who will oppose Don Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) here at Metro Centre, took some time out to discuss those differences with NHL.com.
"The pace of the practice, movement and size of these kids … it's different than it was 20 years ago in the NHL, but it sure is fun to be involved," McPhee said. "Everyone talks about the kids being bigger, faster and stronger. I think maybe they're training harder and the technology is a lot better so you know how to attack things.
"The other thing is how well they handle themselves as 17- and 18-year-old kids. Maybe they're more used to the media with how widespread the Internet is today. Still, I think all the players will be nervous [Wednesday] and they realize it's big, but they're good kids and respectful and will look you in the eye. So whether they make it in the NHL or not, they all have that good quality moving forward."
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- The ever-loquacious Don Cherry met the media Wednesday morning to set the stage for what he believes will be an unforgettable matchup in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) here at Metro Centre.
"I think, as coaches, we won't have a problem getting the kids up for the game, but we'll probably have to take them down a few notches," Cherry said after Team Cherry practice and a team photo. "After the first couple of shifts, you'll start to feel the hate but it takes a couple of shifts. I guarantee this will be a great game."
"I'm there and I'll do a little bit, but you can't have 50 guys telling them what to do," he said. "Brian and Bert are the guys who will take charge out there. Brian Kilrea is the winningest coach in junior hockey. And you better not stay on your shift too long. I remember Daniel Briere [in the 1996 Top Prospects Game] staying out longer than he should have … holy smokes. And they're going to have Kypreos miked for this -- they better have a seven-second delay going on, I can tell you that."
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- In addition to the excitement of playing in his draft year and having an opportunity to take part in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet), Erie Otters forward Stephen Harper also is looking ahead to the 2015 NHL Draft, when good friend and linemate Connor McDavid already is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick.
McDavid, granted exceptional-player status March 21, 2012, by Hockey Canada, allowing him to be eligible for the 2012 Ontario Hockey League draft at age 15 (a year earlier than other prospects), currently leads all first-year OHL players in scoring with 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists) in 38 games. He also was the youngest player ever to compete in the 10-year history of the Subway Super Series when he suited up for Team OHL against Russia on Nov. 8 in Guelph, Ont.
In an effort to make McDavid's first season less stressful, Harper, who serves as an alternate captain for Erie in his second season, asked team management if he could room with the young prodigy this season.
"He said he thought he could mentor him," Otters general manager Sherry Bassin said. "He did that without any encouragement. He came to me of his own free will. That's the character this kid has."
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It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.