Raffi Torres suspended for half of 2015-16 season

The league sends a message with Torres' suspension (3:36)

ESPN NHL reporter Scott Burnside explains why Raffi Torres received such a lengthy suspension for his illegal hit in Saturday's preseason game. (3:36)

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sharks forward Raffi Torres has received the longest suspension in NHL history for a hit on another player when the league banned him Monday for the first 41 games of the season for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres' latest infraction resulted from a hit in a preseason game Saturday. He was ejected with 7:15 left in the first period. Silfverberg did not return to the game either.

The NHL Department of Player Safety ruled that the hit was illegal because Silfverberg's head was the main point of contact. It was also deemed a late hit and would have been considered interference. Torres waived the right to an in-person hearing and has until Wednesday to decide if he wants to appeal the suspension.

This marks the fifth and most significant suspension for Torres in his career. His previous longest ban had been a 21-game suspension for a high hit on Chicago's Marian Hossa in the first round of the playoffs in 2012 when he played with Phoenix.

Torres was suspended for the final six games of the playoffs in 2013 with San Jose for a hit to the head against Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll. Torres was suspended two games in January 2012 for charging Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser, and he sat out four games in April 2011 for a hit to the head of Edmonton's Jordan Eberle while playing for Vancouver.

The previous longest suspension for player-on-player violence was a 30-game suspension to Chris Simon of the New York Islanders in December 2007 for stomping on the skate of Pittsburgh forward Jarkko Ruutu.

Boston's Billy Coutu received a lifetime ban in 1927 for assaulting two referees and starting a Stanley Cup bench-clearing brawl. The ban was dropped after 2½ years, but Coutu never played in the NHL again.

The Sharks had been counting on getting a boost from Torres this season after he played just 12 regular-season and playoff games the past two seasons because of knee injuries. Now they must go through the first half of the season without him. Torres will be eligible to return Jan. 14 against Edmonton.

Torres will forfeit $440,860 in salary for the suspension. The money goes to the players' emergency assistance fund.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.