Today in the Every Goal series, we’ll look at the human bowling ball himself, Raffi Torres, and the 14 goals he scored for Vancouver during the 2010-11 regular season.
Though 14 was the lowest full season goal total of Torres’s career, his year in Vancouver was largely held to be a success. After signing with the Canucks late last offseason as a reclamation project on a one-year deal, Torres carved out a semi-permanent place for himself on the third line alongside Manny Malhotra and Jannik Hansen. He had a knack for massive hits, usually clean (but there was this one time…. and arguably this other time…). He gave the Canucks some physicality that their top nine truly lacked — and now lacks again, after Torres accepted a two-year offer from the Phoenix Coyotes.
He was odd guy, capable of photo bombing his own photos and conducting an entire interview without realizing a teammate was eating pizza directly behind him. On the ice, he never quite did with the puck what anyone expected he would, which was sometimes good, and sometimes bad.
But today we look at 14 instances of the sometimes good. Here’s every goal Raffi Torres scored last season.
Torres’s first goal of the season comes by way of a beautiful tip on a Dan Hamhuis point shot, and this isn’t the last time we’ll see a goal like this. Though he wasn’t used much as a net presence on the powerplay, primarily because he’s not that great a passer, Torres is an excellent tipper. This one is going about three feet wide before he redirects it past Hiller.
Torres second comes off a great pass from Jannik Hansen, who retrieves the puck behind the net, then slips it past two defenders as Torres cuts towards the crease. This goal is vintage Raffi, as his real purpose in cutting to the net is made clear after he scores the goal: he just wanted to hit Nick Schultz. Watch him put his shoulder into Schultz’s chest after he shoots the puck.
Tough break for Matt Taormina here. Attempting to turn away from pressure by Manny Malhotra, he loses an edge and, thereby, the puck. Malhotra picks it up behind the net and centers to Torres for what was, at that time, an uncharacteristically exuberant celebration. In retrospect, his first two goal celebrations were just really subdued.
The first of three goals Torres would score on this night and the second nicest one he’ll score in a Canucks uniform. After Manny Malhotra’s slapshot misses the net and comes off the end boards, Torres outraces Theo Peckham, then dives to poke it past Khabibulin. Then he hugs Malhotra harder than he has any reason to.
Here’s Torres’s tipping power put to good use, as he redirects a Kevin Bieksa wrist shot past Nikolai Khabulin for his second goal on the night. It’s a beautiful tip, too, as it goes right over Khabibulin’s left shoulder and under the crossbar.
Torres’s hat trick goal comes on a backhander that no reasonable person could expect to go in. Thankfully, Torres has never been reasonable. To wit: this is least excitable goal celebration of the night. How is that possible? Anyway, Khabibulin doesn’t see it, as it finds its way through a maze of legs, and it coasts inside the far post.
This goal is pretty similar to his second goal from the game prior, as Torres redirects a point shot for a powerplay goal. The curious thing is that Aaron Rome is the shooter. That is not okay.
Here’s a goal on a rush, of sorts, as Dan Hamhuis fans on an attempt to hold the puck inside the zone and winds up leaving it right at Jannik Hansen’s feet. After kicking it to his feet, he’s joined by Malhotra and Torres for a sudden 3-on-2. Hansen makes a beautiful backhand pass to Torres, who one-times it home.
When discussing elements of Torres’s game that the Canucks will sorely miss, his hitting is usually at the top of the list. Little is made of his tipping power, however, which is Little Teapot-esque. Of his first nine goals, four are redirects. This one comes on a shot by Andrew Alberts.
Torres’s 9th of the season and second of the night, a tap-in, is also the seventh goal in a 7-1 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Christmas Eve Eve. No wonder no one cares. Hamhuis’s pass to Torres in the slot is beatiful, but there’s no way that seam is open in a closer game with thirteen minutes until the holidays.
Here’s his prettiest goal in a Canucks uniform. After catching the Dallas bench on a sloppy line change, Torres charges through the neutral zone for a breakaway. This is an excellent example of Torres’s combination of speed and skill, as he fights off a hook (that would have apparently gone uncalled), protects the puck between his skates, then roofs it on the backhand.
As I said on Monday, victimizing the Dallas Stars will be a common theme throughout this series. Here’s Torres scoring his first of two on the night when he wires a slapshot past Andrew Raycroft.
Here’s Torres and Malhotra hooking up for the two-on-one goal that led to this classic photo. I love this goal celebration. First, the roll. Then the tongue wag. Then the twirling hug that looks like something out of Beauty & the Beast (with purple-tongued Torres obviously being the beast). It’s actually kind of touching. Someone needs to slow it down and put it to music. Seriously. Someone make me a Raffi loves Manny montage.
Torres’s 14th goal comes on a soft wrist shot that somehow manages to slide underneath Nick Backstrom’s right pad. As John Garrett says, before struggling to pronounce “Zidlicky”, it’s a bit of a stinky goal. This assist goes to Malhotra, who does well to fight off a check all the way up ice before moving it to Torres for the shot.
This goal is actually a somewhat poetic end to the Raffi Torres era in Vancouver, and it’s a pretty good example of what was a common theme throughout the year: Manny Malhotra working hard not just for his own success, but for Raffi’s. Torres is a player that, left to his own devices, will lose his game in his own head. Malhotra, who seemed to understand Raffi better than anyone, worked hard the entire season to hold him accountable, keep his confidence up, and draw out the effective player Torres can be when you get him believing in himself.
Hopefully, someone on the Coyotes can recognize and meet this need. If not, Torres may be a cheap reclamation project again in two years.
And finally, here’s a compilation of all 14 goals in one Youtube video, courtesy of @nic604vanbc.Tags: Every Goal 10-11, spotlight, Torres, Torres tips like the waitress is pregnant