Moments after suspending Canucks head coach John Tortorella for 15 days (six games), the NHL fined the target of Torts’ ire — Flames bench boss Bob Hartley – $25,000 for “conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.”
“We are holding Mr. Hartley responsible for the actions of Flames’ right wing Kevin Westgarth, who took the game’s opening face-off and attempted to instigate a premeditated fight with an unwilling opponent — the Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa,” the league said in a statement.
On Saturday, the Canucks and Flames engaged in a line brawl two seconds into the contest. Hartley started Westgarth and fellow tough guy Brian McGrattan, which infuriated Tortorella (who responded by icing NHL penalty minutes leader Tom Sestito.)
Tortorella proceeded to scream at Hartley during the first period and, during the intermission, went into the Calgary dressing room tunnel to get after the Flames’ coach. Tortorella is now forbidden from having contact with his club until Feb. 2.
Earlier today, a report from The Province claimed Westgarth was sent out to start the game to “make something happen.” If true, that would contradict the story that Hartley told after the game regarding his choice of starting players.
“Those guys are playing well for us,” Hartley said of Westgarth, McGrattan and and company. “They got a goal last game. We’re not scoring many goals. We had zero intentions there.”
Hartley’s fine is in a similar vein to the one levied to ex-Buffalo head coach Ron Rolston earlier this year. Rolston was fined an undisclosed sum for “player selection” during a preseason game between the Sabres and Maple Leafs, one that saw tough guy John Scott go after Leafs sniper Phil Kessel.
Related: Torts reform: NHL suspends Tortorella 15 days — six games — for antics vs. Calgary
The Tampa Bay Lightning, after earning a big win last night in Boston, may not have defenseman Jason Garrison tonight in Detroit.
The Bolts recalled d-man Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse this morning — a move that would seem to put Garrison’s status into doubt against the Red Wings.
Garrison was forced to leave the Bruins game in the second period with a lower-body injury.
Koekkoek has played 29 games for the Lightning this season, recording no goals and four assists.
Sidney Crosby won’t face a disciplinary hearing for his slash on Ottawa d-man Marc Methot, an NHL spokesman confirmed — news that won’t be welcomed by Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.
The incident occurred during Ottawa’s 2-1 win on Thursday night, and forced Methot from the game with a bloodied, lacerated finger. The club later announced that Methot would be “out for weeks” with the injury.
Crosby’s slash came two nights after he speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt. It should be noted that neither the O’Reilly spear or Methot slash resulted in penalty calls, and neither was subjected to supplementary discipline.
One individual that’s guaranteed to be upset with today’s news is Melynk. He appeared on TSN 1200 radio this morning and seemed to suggest the league was looking into the Crosby-Methot incident.
He also had a few choice words for No. 87:
NEW YORK (AP) The Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators will play two regular-season games in Sweden next season.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association on Friday announced their new Global Series games Nov. 10 and 11 in Stockholm.
The Avalanche and Senators will play the NHL’s first regular-season games in Europe since 2011. It’s the NHL’s sixth trip to Europe and the seventh and eighth games played in Sweden.
Colorado’s captain is 24-year-old Swedish forward Gabriel Landeskog. Ottawa’s captain is 26-year-old Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson, winner of the 2012 and 2015 Norris Trophy.
Other Swedes currently playing for the two clubs include Ottawa’s Frederik Claesson (Stockholm) and Viktor Stalberg (Gothenburg), and Colorado’s Anton Lindholm (Skelleftea) and Carl Soderberg (Malmo).
Commissioner Gary Bettman says with more Swedish players than ever, it’s a good chance to showcase the game there. Eighty-four Swedes have played in the NHL this season, roughly 9 percent of the league.
“We have more Swedish players than ever in the NHL, and we are extremely pleased that the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series will allow us to showcase a number of those players, with their NHL teams, in their homeland,” Bettman said. “The return of regular-season NHL games to the international stage will provide yet another highlight for our Centennial celebration.”
Believe it or not, many people have an issue with Islanders rookie Josh Ho-Sang wearing number 66, but it sounds like former Penguins great Mario Lemieux isn’t one of them.
On Thursday, Lemieux made it clear that Ho-Sang using his number wasn’t an issue.
“I’m fine with it,” Lemieux said via a spokesperson, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s just a number. Number 4 and number 9 were worn by great players (Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe, respectively), and they are not retired forever. Players can choose whatever number they want.”
Some see it as a sign of disrespect, but Ho-Sang has made it clear that that’s the last thing on his mind when he decided he wanted to wear Lemieux’s old number.
“It’s honoring [Lemieux] and just, I think a lot more people remember who he is now because they’re yelling at me about wearing the number, right? I think that’s cool too,” he told Newsday earlier this month. “There’s a lot of light being shined on an amazing player. By no means am I trying to be better than or trying to prove anything. For me, it’s definitely a tribute to a great player. If he asked me not to wear it, I’d definitely consider it, but I haven’t gotten any phone calls or anything. So for now I’m gonna wear it.”
Even though Lemieux has now given his blessing, don’t be surprised if Penguins fan are all over Ho-Sang during Friday’s game between the two teams at PPG Paints Arena.