(Reuters) - San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres has been suspended for the rest of the Western Conference semi-finals for a hit to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll, the National Hockey League (NHL) said on Thursday.
Torres will miss a maximum six games if the best-of-seven playoff series goes the distance and as little as four games if San Jose, which trails the series 1-0, wins four straight.
The 31-year-old Canadian, who attended an in-person hearing at NHL offices on Thursday, delivered the hit late in the second period of Tuesday's series opener to the second-round series and Stoll did not return.
"Rather than hit Stoll through the core of his body Torres takes a route that makes Stoll's head the principal point of contact," NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video on the league's website.
Torres has been suspended three times and fined three times during his 12-year NHL career, including a 21-game ban during last season's playoff for a hit on Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The series resumes later on Thursday in Los Angeles.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Edfiting by Julian Linden)