The fallout from the Vancouver-Calgary melee last Saturday night is in. Canucks bench boss John Tortorella has been suspended for 15 days, or 6 games, and Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley was fined $25K for their actions during the Hockey Night In Canada contest.
Hartley’s fine comes from the line he chose to start and the intentions they had heading to center ice. Tortorella’s suspension is a result of his shenanigans outside of the Calgary Flames locker room in the first intermission.
Hartley placed Torts in a lose-lose situation when he sent out his goon squad to start the game, an image similar in fashion to the Buffalo-Toronto pre-season game in September. Tortorella had two options: 1) Go ahead as planned and start the Sedin line, or 2) Send out a 5-man crew that could handle a scrap or five.
The media world exploded with the consensus that the Canucks should have just played the Sedin line to diffuse the impending situation. Ask Leafs coach Randy Carlyle how that decision played out when he was faced with a similar situation. Carlyle tried to play mediator and ended up having John Scott try to jump his star player, with Kessel responding by going baseball on Scott’s ankles and getting suspended for the remainder of the pre-season.
Several coaches around the league have supported Tortorella’s decision to take the Sedin’s out, voicing the theory of protecting their players. That being said, had Tortorella left his frustration at the :02 mark of the first period, he wouldn’t be suspended for 15 days. It all boils down to Tortorella getting shelved for trying to start his own brawl in the Flames locker room and Hartley getting fined for lighting a fire and cowering behind his players on the bench.