What I’m talking about is John Tortorella, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, going crazy with rage and getting into a scuffle with Calgary Flames players and management. Watching “Torts” having a mental break down during a hockey game is to be expected. It’s just been a couple years, so people have forgotten one of his signatures.
It was an interesting hockey game I have to say. It’s also safe to say there is no love lost between Calgary and Vancouver, but it was literally two seconds after the opening faceoff that the gloves were off and the players were fighting on the ice on Jan. 18.
The goon squads, Calgary and Vancouver’s line ups, came out in full force. All of the first-line players from both teams were ejected from the game. Torts goes ballistic and needs to be restrained by refs on the ice. Then at the end of the first period as the players were going back to their locker room, Tortorella walks down the hall and around the corner trying to confront someone in the Calgary Flames dressing room. All of this was caught on the trusty CBC cameras of course. It was a strange thing to see the bottle neck of players trying to see what was going on as Tortorella pushed and shoved with Calgary officials and players trying to get at Calgary coach Bob Hartley.
I know it wasn’t a funny situation, but it was funny to see Brian McGrattan, the giant Calgary enforcer who is known for bashing other players into the boards. He was standing like a one-man wall between the Vancouver coach and the Calgary management and players.
This giant kept his head and stopped his own coach from getting into a fist fight with Tortorella. I watched as he pushed his own management in the face and nudged others back as officials tried to stand between the feuding coaches.
On Tuesday morning it was announced that Tortorella is being suspended for 15 days and Hartley is being fined $25,000.
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations stated, “Coaches in the NHL bear the responsibility of providing leadership, even when emotions run high, and Mr. Tortorella failed in his responsibility to the game.”
The league’s actions were appropriate, there are rules against coaches and fighting. I just wish they would have suspended him for longer. I mean everyone loves a good fight on the ice, but he’s the coach. The players shouldn’t be telling him to cool off, it should be the other way around.
Everyone knows Tortorella has a temper. In 2007, he was fined after making comments about on-ice officials during a game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers. In 2009, he was suspended from Game 5 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. He threw a water bottle at a fan and tried to spear them with a stick.
In November of the same year he was fined $10,000 for sending a player from the Rangers to go fight with a Canuck. In 2012, he was fined $30,000 because he suggested NBC and the on-ice officials were getting together to make questionable calls and extending the game into overtime. Then in April of the same year he was fined $20,000 for calling Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin “the whining stars of the arrogant” Pittsburgh Penguins. Last week NHL deemed Tortorella’s actions as dangerous and an embarrassment.
Hartley and Tortorella have a history as well, dating back to the AHL in 1995. January 18 was like a flashback to 1995 when Tortorella coached the Rochester Americans and Hartley coached the Cornwall Aces. Back then it was a high-sticking call that started the on-ice brawl, today it’s just a new set of teams. I guess after all this time they still hate each others guts.