John Tortorella gets a raw deal from the NHL

Comments9

At the risk of being accused of being a homer, I'm going to declare that the NHL has been too tough on Canucks coach John Tortorella for his behaviour on January 18.

He's just received a 15-day suspension for approaching the Calgary locker room after a brutally provocative stunt by Flames coach Bob Hartley.

What was Tortorella going to do with Calgary goon Brian McGrattan towering over him in the hall after the first period? Kick his shins?

The NHL's Colin Campbell claimed that Tortorella's actions on January 18 "were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the league".

The only person in danger was Tortorella, who risked having his face punched in because he was on his own.

Another Calgary troglodyte, Kevin Westgarth, was the real embarrassment, first trying to pick a fight with Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa before attempting to punch out rookie Kellan Lain.

McGrattan has a mere seven goals in eight seasons; Westgarth has scored just three goals in five seasons. Just the guys you want to start the game.

Tortorella will miss six games just as the Canucks are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy didn't have to miss any games after nearly knocking down the glass in a game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Of course, Roy's outburst wasn't captured live on Hockey Night in Canada.

So he merely received a $10,000 fine.

Tortorella, on the other hand, suffered a much greater penalty even though his actions weren't nearly as dangerous as those of Roy or Hartley, who was fined $25,000.

In the NHL, it seems, justice is not blind when there's a national television audience.

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Chantal
#FreeTorts
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Approach?
Or did Torts saunter or stroll towards the Flamers dressing room? It was a stupid thing to do and he is being made an example of. I have no problem with it. As for Calgary starting a goon line, it's not as though they just jumped over the boards and took their positions between the anthem and the face off - starting line ups are announced ahead of the game with the home team getting the opportunity to announce theirs last. As for Roy, who is quite the hot head as well, sure, what he did was wrong but shouldn't the barriers between and around benches be a bit more sturdy? Or are they that way to prevent concussions?
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steve
loved it all.
no disgrace except at nhl headquarters
no danger
about time the canucks showed some teeth as a team
nhl always harsh on canucks, don't know why, so no surprise
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bill
@Charlie Smith Don't be naive. Tortorella didn't go over to Flames dressing room area to engage McGrattan or Westgarth. He was after Hartley, and if he had of got face to face with him then he might have done more than kick him in the shin. McGrattan actually saved Coach Hothead from further embarrassment and disciplinary action by keeping him (and his guys) at bay. Tortorella is a repeat offender in this area. This is why he received the punishment he did.
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Martin Dunphy
Approach?:

I must say, your excuse for Roy is a bit like asking a shooting victim: "Shouldn't you have been wearing a bulletproof vest?"
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AC
The only danger was Torts getting tagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and the bad reputation that it might bring the league. It was a premeditated action he felt worth the consequences to try lighting a spark under the asses of the fading Canucks. It was outrageous and ok by me. Well done Torts.
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Hazlit
juvenile. No allowance for you.
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ACMESalesRep
The only reason Tortorella was suspended was because he went down the hall towards the Flames' dressing room. If he'd stuck to yelling on the bench, he would have gotten a fine at most.

That said, the NHL is pretty f***ed up when staging a line brawl gets a $25k fine for one participant but yelling at someone in a hallway gets a 15-day suspension. Of course, the fine itself is pretty dubious. After all, the league condones fighting. Hartley merely took advantage of it to give his team its best opportunity to beat the Canucks. Given what happened Saturday, any less-skilled team would be stupid not to do exactly the same thing.
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Ron Y
I think it was a good suspension Charlie. I think that Tortorella has to be used as an example, and a mere slap on the wrist would not have the deterrent value.

Mind you, I don't see this as hotheadedness at all - I think Torts did it deliberately as a statement to his players, and as a way of taking the heat off them (their terrible January) and putting the ire and criticism onto himself. I think he full well knew he was doing something that would get him a suspension.

I kind of love this Torts now, actually.
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