The last game for the Calgary Flames was on Sunday, April 13th in Vancouver against the Canucks. For those of us who love hockey, we try to watch as many Flames post-game interviews as possible. For those of us who like comedy, we also try to catch John Tortorella interviews as well. If you missed the Torts post-game interview with the media, it’s posted on Canucks TV.
Allow me to sum things up for you…
In spite of being warned against addressing the media regarding the action of Flames coach, Bob Hartley, Torts, as always, couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself as he touched upon the “disrespect” he felt from Hartley. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, Torts continued on, becoming visibly more and more distraught about the actions of Hartley, saying “it’s embarrassing to coach against the guy across from me tonight…I don’t like the way he does business. I don’t like him…it’s bush league.” Bold words from a man who was so shaken at the thoughts of Hartley that he walked away from the microphones.
Hartley told reporters, in his season-ending interview, that he would not address the issue of Tortorella’s angry words. Enter Brian Burke. Instead of having Hartley address the issue, Brian Burke sent out a rebuttal in his press conference that you can watch on Flames TV from Monday, April 14th.
Brian Burke made it very clear that he backs Hartley’s action in the games against the Vancouver Canucks, and every other game against the other teams in the league, including when Hartley disputed the call against Paul Byron for the hit on Daniel Sedin. It was a bad situation and no one ever wants to see a player hurt. I’m sure we can all agree on that. But I don’t think that disputing the call against Byron was in any way Hartley’s way of disrespecting any of the Canucks players or coaching staff. As Burke pointed out, once the player starts serving the penalty, the call can no longer be disputed and “that’s when Bob has to argue that…our coach acted completely appropriately.”
Burke went on to say, “Torts ought to keep his mouth shut…[and] leave my coach alone.” In reference to the January 18th game and the line brawl that ensued off the opening face-off, Burke explained that it was “a ground-breaking moment for our team…we’re not getting pushed around anymore, this is the way we’re going to play.” And Hartley went on to prove Burke’s point when he started his fourth line players once in a while throughout the remaining part of the season in spite of the fine that was handed down after the January 18th game.
When questioned at the press conference about the future of coach Hartley, Burke explained, “Bob is exactly what I want,” and later confirmed, “he will be coaching this team next year.”
I have a feeling Hartley will be sticking around for a while longer and this won’t be the last time they will have to deal with Torts harsh words.