Self-control was the issue during the Calgary Flames visit to Rogers Arena to take on the home team, the Vancouver Canucks. Yet, it wasn’t the players who lacked the self-control – it was the coach. John Tortorella was not pleased with Bob Hartley’s decision to start his fourth “energy line” at the face-off dot.
Torts could be seen and heard, screaming at Hartley from behind the bench before the game had even started, as the players took their positions at for the face-off. Torts was obviously not impressed with Hartley’s decision to start the fourth line players, but, instead of guaranteeing his team a goal by countering with his first line, Tortorella matched Hartley’s decision and put out his fourth line as well.
The first period was ugly – especially the first two seconds of the game – as it turned into a fighting, screaming, yelling mess of a period. Torts didn’t hide his disgust as he was seen yelling, finger-pointing, and shaking his head throughout most of the first period. And it didn’t stop there.
Instead of spending time with his own team during intermission, trying to help them through a rough period – for both teams, not just the Canucks – Torts made the bad decision of making his way towards the Flames dressing room, where he was met with coaching staff and players.
The video of John Tortorella in the hallway outside the Flames dressing room went viral. Here is a clip from Flames TV.
Because of his off-ice actions, he has an in-person hearing today, Monday, January 20th, to discuss rule 46.8, which states,
“Whenever a coach or other non-playing club personnel becomes involved in an altercation with an opposing player, coach, or other non-playing club personnel on or off the ice, (he) shall be automatically suspended from the game, ordered to the dressing room and the matter will be reported to the commissioner for further disciplinary action.”
Hockey is about self-control and self-discipline and, for those who do not seem to be able to control themselves in the face of adversity, the league’s rules help guide them into learning how to gain those skills.
Understandably, Torts wouldn’t talk about the incident during his post-game interview because, let’s face it, he was probably told not to in lieu of knowing that he may rock the boat even more.
But, as we all saw during the game in Vancouver, sometimes that passion needs to be controlled a little better.
I’ll keep you updated as to the outcome of Tortorella’s meeting with the league.