NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL suspended Vancouver coach John Tortorella without pay for 15 days on Monday for his conduct after a brawl between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames.
Tortorella went to Calgary’s locker room at intermission following the first period Saturday night, which began with several fights and four game misconducts per team. Vancouver won the game 3-2 in a shootout.
“Mr. Tortorella’s actions in attempting to enter the Calgary Flames locker room after the first period were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the league,” NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement.
“Coaches in the NHL bear the responsibility of providing leadership, even when emotions run high, and Mr. Tortorella failed in his responsibility to the game.”
Tortorella’s suspension runs through Feb. 2. He will miss six games starting Tuesday night at Edmonton.
Tortorella is not allowed to have any interaction with the Canucks before, during or after games during that time.
“We respect the decision made by the National Hockey League today to suspend John Tortorella for 15 days from Sunday, with no contact with the team for six games,” Canucks president and general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement.
“We would also like to acknowledge our organization’s full support for John and we look forward to having him back behind the bench soon.”
This is the second career suspension for Tortorella, who missed Game 6 of the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals as coach of the New York Rangers for throwing a water bottle into the stands in Washington.
Tortorella blamed Flames coach Bob Hartley for starting his fourth line, saying he couldn’t put star players Daniel and Henrik Sedin at risk just to deflate the situation. Hartley was fined $25,000 by the NHL.
“We are holding Mr. Hartley responsible for the actions of Flames’ right wing Kevin Westgarth, who took the game’s opening faceoff and attempted to instigate a premeditated fight with an unwilling opponent — the Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa,” Campbell said.