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."
Torres was a 30-goal scorer in junior hockey and was the fifth pick of the 2000 NHL Draft. He's scored at least 15 goals five times in 10 seasons with the New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Coyotes.
But he knows he's allowed his aggression to get the best of him. Now he plans to pattern his game after another physical player who had to alter his style of play: Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke, who went from frequently penalized player to scoring a career-best 19 goals while totaling a career-low 44 penalty minutes last season.
"He doesn't have the best track record like myself, but he's a player too," Torres said. "At the end of the day, there are only a few guys out here that do one thing out there. He's obviously shown he can do a lot more."
Torres is eligible to return Feb. 2, when the Coyotes play host to the Dallas Stars.
"The game's changed a little bit the last few years," he said. "Obviously I’ve got to realize that, and the utmost importance these days is the safety of the other players. I don't want to go through something like that again."