In normal NHL games, there’s maybe a maximum of three fights in the entire game. In Saturday’s clash between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks, the opening seconds of the came showed the rivalry’s true colors with a full line brawl.
With the way the submitted opening lineups looking different, it seemed like the all-out fight was expected. The puck dropped, and the gloves dropped seconds later as well. In fact, the only players on the ice not fighting were the goalies. It took a while for all five fights to be broken up and for the referees to figure out all the penalty minutes.
In the first five minutes of action alone, there were 142 total penalty minutes handed out. By the end of the first period, Calgary’s Shane O’Brien and Vancouver’s Zack Kassian each received 10-minute misconducts. Oh, in case you cared about the score, the Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout.
In addition to the fights, both coaches were jawing back and forth between the benches. Vancouver coach John Tortorella even tried to enter the opponent’s locker room during the first period intermission, which lead to an altercation breaking out in the tunnel.
One thing is for sure: the NHL will surely be reviewing Saturday night’s game and handing out a myriad of fines and suspensions. Tortorella will most likely get an hefty fine and suspension for attempting to enter the opponent’s locker room. Rivalries allow for fans to cheer for their team, but rivalry games should not lead to what happened on the ice on Saturday. There’s a line of acceptable violence and hatred that was crossed in this game.
This incident also made clear how hockey looks when the focus is on hurting, fighting and trying to attack your opponent rather than trying to beat them through on-ice skills. In future Flames-Canucks games, the NHL will need to make it clear to both teams that a repeat of their brawl will not be acceptable.
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