Mount St. Tortorella Erupted in Vancouver on Saturday Night
The Calgary Flames vs. the Vancouver Canucks used to be one of the top rivalries in the National Hockey League. Over the last 10 seasons the rivalry has fizzled, mostly based on a poor Flames' rebuilding effort, but it kicked back into high gear on Saturday night.
Just 2 seconds into the Canucks' 3-2 shootout victory the Flames and Canucks engaged in a good, old-fashioned line brawl. The two teams combined for 142 penalty minutes after 2 seconds and 204 minutes for the entire game. Rivalry renewed.
This whole thing started when the teams submitted their opening lineup an hour before the game. Calgary Flames' coach Bob Hartley decided to submit a lineup that included "tough guys" Brian McGrattan, Blair Jones, Chris Butler, and Kevin Westgarth. Canucks' coach John Tortorella had two options: put out his number one line and risk injury to his star offensive players, or counter with his own fourth line and watch the show.
Torts chose the latter, but he didn't just sit back and watch...he wanted some action of his own. In addition to yelling at Hartley, and blaming him for the actions to start the game, Tortorella decided to pay a visit to the Flames' dressing room during the 1st intermission.
The last time there was a full line brawl to start an NHL game was back in 2012 between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers...guess who was coaching the Rangers on that night.
Exact same situation back in 2012. Devils submit opening lineup full of fighters, Torts is forced to counter with his own 4th line, defenseman takes the opening face-off, chaos ensues.
John Tortorella is getting ripped apart on social media and on TV this morning. While I don't condone his actions during the intermission, the entire incident (just like in 2012) was started by the visiting coach. This was a premeditated attack by Bob Hartley and the Calgary Flames (this has Brian Burke's fingerprints all over it) and you can be sure that this war is not finished.
Note: Tortorella will, most likely, get suspended for his actions during the intermission and has already been scheduled for an in-person hearing on Monday.
Interesting note from the incident: Canucks' rookie Kellan Lain was making his National Hockey League debut on Saturday night. His family was in attendance to watch and he lasted 2 seconds before being ejected along with the other combatants.