Raffi Torres: 'I think I can change the way I play'
Raffi Torres believes he can make a positive contribution to an NHL team.
The oft-suspended winger, who will attend Carolina Hurricanes training camp on a professional tryout offer, hears the people who say he doesn't deserve another shot at cracking an opening-night roster - but that won't stop him from taking one last crack at extending his professional hockey career.
"Obviously I’m very grateful to get this opportunity," Torres told Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer on Friday. "I realize it’s probably my last shot, with where I am in my career. I’m grateful, I’m thankful, and I’m excited.
"People are going to say what they’re going to say. I have not helped myself. You sleep in the bed you make. I accept that. I believe I had paid my dues and I have dealt with what I had to deal with. I think I can change the way I play."
During a preseason game last year, Torres struck Jakob Silfverberg with a blindside hit to the head that earned him a 41-game suspension and essentially kept him off the ice for the entirety of the 2015-16 season.
It was the latest incident on Torres' lengthy rap sheet, and while he's unlikely to completely reinvent his game, he believes he can help the Hurricanes, or another team should Carolina decide not to sign him.
"Can I score 25 goals? Probably not," Torres said. "But I could come in and give them a player with some grit, a sandpaper guy. I can get in on the forecheck and instead of putting the guy in the third row, get the puck back and then get to the net. I can play that simple game.
"I just have to take a step backward. The speed of the game is higher than ever and the players stronger and faster. Obviously I can’t run around out there like I used to. I need to focus on what I know I can still do."
Another issue for Torres is an ACL injury that sidelined him for all of the 2014-15 season, but he says he's finally recovered and will enter training camp with a clean bill of health.
Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said this week that Torres has "served his time" and the club is willing to take a look at what he might have to offer.