Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – A fine or suspension awaits Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella after he tried to barge into the Calgary Flames’ locker room after the first period of Saturday night’s NHL game at Rogers Arena.
Tortorella was fuming after a scuffle ensued two seconds into the game. Four players from each team were ejected with Calgary taking 77 minutes and Vancouver 75 penalty minutes.
The trouble began when Calgary coach Bob Hartley started the game with his fourth line. Seeing the situation, Tortorella did the same. Two seconds after the puck dropped, so did the gloves.
“I’m not proud of what happened,” Tortorella said after the game. “It shouldn’t be in the game, but I need to protect my players.”
Tortorella said he didn’t start his first line because they might suffer injuries against the Flames’ thuggish behemoths.
“As far as I know, (Tortorella) has last change,” Hartley said of the incident. “They all seemed willing combatants.”
While the NHL was not amused with Tortorella’s locker room attack, his players liked what they saw in their coach.
“He’s there for us, he’s got our back,” said left winger Alex Burrows, who was one of the Canucks escorting Tortorella back to their locker room.
It was not the first time that Tortorella and Hartley clashed heads. When Tortorella was coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Hartley was coaching the old Atlanta Thrashers in 2005, Hartley charged into Tortorella’s office in Tampa to offer an earful.