Both teams sent out their fourth lines to start off the game, which resulted in an all-out brawl just milliseconds after the puck dropped. Canucks coach John Tortorella, not exactly known for an even-keeled temper, eventually went to the end of his bench to scream at various Flames players. On top of that, he chased the opposing team down the hallway at the end of the first period and had to be restrained. For those who loved fighting and intensity, it was quite a sight to see. For anyone else, it was a black eye for the NHL.
As a result for his actions, Tortorella was suspended by the league for 15 days, which essentially adds up to six games overall. It was a tough pill to swallow, but according to Canucks GM Mike Gillis, the man behind the bench in Vancouver is apologetic about the entire event.
“Torts is extremely disappointed in what happened. He accepts his punishment and we’ll move on,” Gillis said. ”He’s an emotional guy and it got the better of him. He admitted that and the commissioner [Gary Bettman] accepted it.”
Obviously we wouldn’t expect Tortorella to react any differently. Sure, he’s one of the more fiery personalities in the league, but not to the point where he would brag about trying to fight another team outside of the locker rooms. This is the NHL, not the WWE. For the most part, it sounds like everyone on Vancouver’s end is doing the right thing; admitting emotions got too hot, but accepting punishment and moving on.
To be quite honest, some time away from the bench might do Tortorella some good. Though the Canucks have won two straight, they’re also coming off a skid in which they lost eight of nine games. This sent them tumbling down the Western Conference standings, as they now sit in seventh place. Only two points separate them from the eighth place Minnesota Wild, but there’s a five point cushion between them and the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes. Though it’s nothing to seriously panic about just yet, more losses could change that.
Perhaps this two week hiatus from the team could give Tortorella a chance to take a deep breath and get his team back on track. But let’s not get too carried away, nobody expects Tortorella to be completely mellowed out by the time he returns.