New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The National Hockey League handed down a
pair of punishments on Monday: a 15-day suspension to Vancouver Canucks head
coach John Tortorella and a $25,000 fine against Calgary Flames head coach Bob
The rulings were handed down after a meeting at the league's office in
Manhattan, and were a direct result of a brawl which began just after the
opening faceoff between the Calgary Flames and Canucks in Vancouver on
At the first intermission, Tortorella attempted to gain access to the Flames'
locker room, but was held back by Flames players and Canucks personnel. The
hosts eventually prevailed by a 3-2 count in a shootout, but not before 150
penalty minutes were handed out in the first 4 1/2 minutes alone, and 204 PIMs
were logged for the entire contest.
"Mr. Tortorella's actions in attempting to enter the Calgary Flames locker
room after the first period were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the
League," said NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin
Campbell. "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."
Two seconds after the drop of the puck, Calgary's Kevin Westgarth jumped
Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa at center ice, and eventually all 10 skaters
paired off. Both head coaches also argued with each other from their
respective perches on the bench. When order was restored, all 10 players were
given misconducts -- eight of which forced combatants off the ice for the
remainder of the game.
"We are holding Mr. Hartley responsible for the actions of Flames' right wing
Westgarth, who took the game's opening face-off and attempted to
instigate a premeditated fight with an unwilling opponent -- the Canucks'
Bieksa," Campbell added.
Tortorella's suspension, which is retroactive to January 19, is set to begin
with Tuesday's contest against the Edmonton Oilers. It will be completed on
Feb. 2, one day before a tilt against the Detroit Red Wings, in effect a six-
game absence from the club.
"We respect the decision made by the National Hockey League today to suspend
John Tortorella for 15 days from Sunday, with no contact with the team for six
games," said Canucks GM Mike Gillis. "We would also like to acknowledge our
organization's full support for John and we look forward to having him back
behind the bench soon."
The 55-year-old Tortorella had previously been fined three times for
inappropriate comments and suspended once during the 2009 playoffs for
throwing a water bottle into the stands in Washington, DC. Hartley had never
before received discipline in the form of fine or suspension from the NHL.
"I can't put our players at risk that way. I'm not proud of it. I've
apologized to all of the players involved," a contrite Tortorella said
following the contentious contest.
The Sports Network