NHL: McGrattan’s post-fight salute penalty byproduct of ‘Asham incident’

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A strange thing happened to Brian McGrattan on the way to the penalty box Sunday night — a simple gesture earned him another penalty.

That was the scene in Calgary during the Flames’ 4-2 win over Vancouver. Midway through the second period, McGrattan got into a scrap with Canucks forward Tom Sestito, which McGrattan punctuated with his version of the Jagr salute:

That gesture got McGrattan tagged with an extra 10-minute misconduct (on top of his five-minute fighting major), which led to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis doing some digging:

The NHL’s Director of Officiating, Terry Gregson, said Monday the misconduct isn’t part of a new NFL-type rule aimed at curbing taunting. It was simply a judgment call by the officials, who were worried the showboating could escalate things later in the night.

After all, it certainly riled up the fans.

“I spoke with both officials, and they felt (it was just) because it was a gesture following a fight and the emotional state of things (was high),” Gregson told the Sun in an e-mail.

“They related back to the Asham incident of a year ago. The actions were different but they felt following a fight that type of thing adds fuel to the fire.”

The ‘Asham incident’ was the Oct. 2011 fight between then-Penguins forward Aaron Asham and Washington’s Jay Beagle, which went like this:

Asham was apologetic after the incident, saying he didn’t realize the damage he’d inflicted on Beagle upon doing his routine. Asham wasn’t given a misconduct and received no supplementary discipline from the NHL.

As for McGrattan, he said his salute was simply “an adrenalin thing” — an act that drew approval from his head coach, Bob Hartley.

“I loved the salute,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald. “He makes us feel good. He makes us feel bigger. I’m sure the other team are sitting on their bench not as comfortable, that’s for sure.”