Don Cherry addressed the John Tortorella suspension during his seven-minute segment Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday.
Cherry said the ban of 15 days, equal to six games, levied on Tortorella by the National Hockey League on Monday was “too much.”
Tortorella, the fiery Canucks’ head coach, received the supplemental discipline after charging over to the Calgary Flames’ dressing room during the first period of last Saturday’s fight-filled affair at Rogers Arena.
Television cameras caught Tortorella in the middle of a scuffle in the hallway just outside the Flames dressing room, with players jammed up in the tunnel looking on.
Tortorella was angry with Flames head coach Bob Hartley for starting his tough guys Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth. He countered a lineup that included Tom Sestito and Dale Weise. The result: a line brawl off the opening faceoff.
Hartley was fined $25,000 by the NHL for his role in the brawl. Flames interim general manager Brian Burke also voiced his disagreement with the fine, saying he was “perplexed” by the league’s decision.
Burke later added during a public lecture to law students at the University of Calgary: “…we all know the Canucks started it.”
The New York Rangers’ headaches continued on Saturday with a 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, prompting one of the team’s former headache-makers to come out of the woodwork.
Retired winger Sean Avery wasn’t shy about laying the blame at John Tortorella’s feet, calling for his last NHL coach’s head on Twitter:
Now that’s some quality chirping. Let’s look at the checklist:
- He spoke about himself in the third person (or at least the third Twitter handle).
- Solid use of all caps.
- He demanded that Tortorella gets fired.
- Apparently Torts doesn’t like the word clown.
- Avery even threw in Charlie Sheen’s #winning at the end.
Admit it, you kind of miss Avery’s antics, don’t you?
One thing we all missed during the lockout was John Tortorella’s post-game grumbling. After the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the Bruins last night, he showed that a little extra time off didn’t cause him to lose his edge.
What got under Torts’ skin? His team taking bad penalties as Katie Strang from ESPNNewYork.com reports. In particular, Brian Boyle’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing with a referee after being assessed a goaltender interference call irked him.
“That’s a penalty with the goalie. It’s a penalty,” Tortorella chided. “He needs to shut his g—— mouth. It’s just momentum. It’s a game of momentum. It certainly gave them that.”
All right, who wants to argue about momentum with the coach, hmm?
Taking an extra dumb penalty to go along with a mistake that’s already been made is a great way to land on Tortorella’s radar. Doing it in a losing cause is a great way to earn extra grief during practice. Boyle will try to redeem himself tonight against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
We’ve read plenty of angry words from writers and some disappointing words from those involved in labor talks, so of course the guy providing a healthy dose of common sense is… John Tortorella?
ESPN-New York’s Katie Strang heard from the Rangers coach during his charity dog walking event today, and he had all the right insight for both the NHL and NHLPA when it comes to figuring out their dispute.
“I just hope we keep on learning that this needs to be a partnership for this league to continue to flourish and grow as it has.”
From how Tortorella carries himself during and after games, you’d never think he’d be the guy with the cool head through all this, but here we are.
What’s lost in these labor talks is that it is a partnership between the players and owners, but negotiations have been made to look blurry with the owners’ steep demands on the players.
New York City isn’t a place that needs to be sold to anyone. Maybe if you’re Shea Weber things are different, but in Rick Nash’s case, he needed a bit of a heads up about the “city that never sleeps.” Who better to turn to than his now former Blue Jackets teammate and former Ranger forward Vinny Prospal?
Dave Lozo of NHL.com hears it from Nash about how Prospal gave him the scouting report on what it’s like being a Ranger.
“Vinny just texted me about an hour ago,” said Nash, seated at a locker with his new Rangers jersey hanging behind him at the MSG Training Center. “We talked when we were training together and he loved it here. He said it was one of the best parts of his career. He loves Torts. From my understanding, he’s very demanding and a tough guy to play for and really preaches hard work, and that’s what you expect from a coach. That’s what you’d want.”
Guys who love Tortorella you’d think are rare but for Nash, he’d better get used to him fast. The pressure will be immense on the Rangers to do better than they did last season. Considering where Nash is coming from, it’s as much of a 180-degree turn on expectations as you can imagine.
(Picture courtesy of the New York Rangers twitter)