Post-Game: The Rumble At Rogers (Arena)

Ryan Pike
January 18 2014 11:43PM

Sometimes a game is just a game. Sometimes it's just three periods of guys fighting over two points in the standings. When one of the teams is as deep down in the standings as the Calgary Flames are, those games sometimes become routine for all involved.

And sometimes, a game kicks off with a freakin' line brawl with five sets of fights on the ice, resulting in eight players getting ejected and all of a sudden, things get pretty damn interesting.

The Flames lost 3-2 in a shootout tonight, in a shockingly competitive game against a team 19 points ahead of them in the standings, the Vancouver Canucks.

THE RUNDOWN

The Flames kicked off the game by icing a starting line-up featuring Ladislav Smid, Chris Butler, Brian McGrattan, Kevin Westgarth and the returning Blair Jones. The Canucks, seeing this line-up of Calgary's best and brightest, retorted with Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Tom Sestito, Dale Wiese and rookie Kellan Lain, making his NHL debut. And so, this happened just two seconds in.

Aside from Sestito and McGrattan, who were engaged in the first fight, everyone else got tossed from the game. As a result, both teams had to roll with four defensemen and 10 forwards for the remaining 59:58. The rest of the first period was fairly back-and-forth, with occasional scrums resulting in even more penalties. The two squads combined for zero goals and 178 penalty minutes in the first period. The Flames had a slight edge in shots (11-9), attempts (23-17) and face-offs (7-5) in the first, and Vancouver never really seemed to get their bearings.

During the intermission, Canucks coach John Tortorella stormed the Flames locker room area to give the boys in red what-for regarding the shenanigans.

The second period featured only four penalty minutes – both minors for the Canucks – and two goals! Amazing, eh? Mark Giordano – on one of the two Canucks penalties – scored 97 seconds into the period off a face-off. Just over two minutes later, Ryan Kesler (who took the penalty that the Flames scored after) tipped in a Zack Kassian shot to even things up at one-apiece. The rest of the period was a bit lower event than the first, with many broken plays, turnovers and near-misses. The shots were 11-9 Calgary and the Flames had a 9-7 face-off edge, but shot attempts were even at 18-18.

Mark Giordano's three minor penalties highlighted the third period, where the Canucks seemed to finally get the chance to play their style of game – albeit late, with a tired and bruised bench. The Flames opened the scoring early in the period, once again, with Matt Stajan taking advantage of a feed from Lance Bouma on a broken play (along with a partial screen from T.J. Galiardi and a Canucks defender) to beat Roberto Luongo and put Calgary up 2-1. That lead lasted for the better part of the period, before Vancouver finally broke through on their power-play, taking just four seconds of a Giordano slashing minor to beat Karri Ramo. Yannick Weber got the goal.

The rest of the period was back-and-forth and punch-counterpunch, but with far more of it played in Calgary's end than in Vancouver's. Regulation ended with the game tied at 2-2. Vancouver led in shots (10-8), shot attempts (19-16) and face-offs (12-10) in the third period.

Overtime solved nothing, with Vancouver leading in shots and attempts by a 5-3 margin, and five minutes of play featuring many tired, tired hockey players. Lots of missed passes. Calgary led in face-offs 2-1. Joe Colborne kicked off the shootout like he usually does, with a goal, but the Flames were unable to solve Roberto Luongo subsequently (with Jiri Hudler, Lee Stempniak, Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund failing to score). Yannick Weber and Chris Higgins scored in the skills competition for Vancouver, allowing the hometown squad to skate away with two points.

WHY THE FLAMES GOT A POINT

To be blunt, they were able to sucker the Canucks into playing their kind of game. In a finesse game, the Canucks skewer Calgary. But through hard work, tenacity and some gamesmanship by Bob Hartley, the Flames eked out an overtime appearance and got a point. If John Tortorella doesn't take the bait and instead puts five hockey players out instead of dancing bears, maybe Vancouver executes their game-plan. But the Flames go to San Jose with a point, and the Canucks probably aren't all that happy with their win.

SCORING CHANCES

Team Period Time Note Home Away State
Home 1 19:14 Kesler 1 2 14 17 22 33 5 7 17 18 31   5v4
Home 1 18:43 Kesler 1 2 14 17 22 33 5 7 17 18 31   5v4
Home 1 18:39 D.Sedin 1 2 14 17 22 33 5 7 17 18 31   5v4
Home 1 18:31 Kesler 1 2 14 17 22 33 5 7 17 18 31   5v4
Home 1 16:54 Booth 1 2 8 15 17 20 6 7 18 24 31 39 5v5
Away 1 14:40 Backlund 1 6 17 22 23 33 6 7 8 11 24 31 5v5
Home 1 13:40 H.Sedin 1 2 6 14 22 33 6 18 22 31 32 55 5v5
Away 1 12:25 Backlund 1 2 8 14 36   5 6 11 22 24 31 4v5
Away 1 12:16 Giordano 1 2 8 14 36   5 6 11 22 24 31 4v5
Away 1 10:14 Stempniak 1 8 20 22 23 33 5 18 22 31 39 55 5v5
Away 1 9:09 Brodie 1 6 7 15 23 36 6 7 8 11 24 31 5v5
Away 1 6:38 Byron 1 2 8 15 22   6 7 8 23 31 32 4v5
Away 1 5:36 Stempniak 1 2 8 15 20 36 5 7 11 22 24 31 5v5
Home 1 3:35 H.Sedin 1 6 7 22 23 33 6 7 17 18 31 39 5v5
Away 1 1:00 Stempniak 1 2 8 14 22 33 6 7 18 22 31 39 5v5
Home 1 0:04 Booth 1 6 7 15 23 29 5 6 8 17 23 31 5v5
Away 2 18:28 Galiardi 1 2 8 14 15   5 6 11 22 24 31 4v5
Away 2 18:24 Giordano goal 1 2 8 14 15   5 6 11 22 24 31 4v5
Home 2 16:10 Kesler goal 1 6 7 15 23 36 6 11 22 24 31 55 5v5
Home 2 9:49 Booth 1 2 7 8 22 36 6 8 11 24 31 55 5v5
Away 2 8:50 Bouma 1 8 14 15 22 23 5 7 16 17 23 31 5v5
Home 2 7:50 Kesler 1 2 8 9 17 20 6 11 22 24 31 55 5v5
Home 2 3:10 Richardson 1 6 15 22 23 29 6 16 17 18 31 55 5v5
Away 2 1:32 Backlund 1 2 7 8 17 20 5 7 8 11 31 39 5v5
Away 2 0:38 Stempniak 1 6 9 17 20 23 6 11 22 24 31 55 5v5
Away 2 0:09 Bouma 1 2 8 14 15 22 6 11 17 31 39 55 5v5
Away 3 16:00 Stajan goal 1 2 7 8 15 36 7 17 18 31 39 55 5v5
Home 3 14:41 Edler 1 6 9 15 20 23 6 8 23 31 32 55 5v5
Home 3 11:58 Burrows 1 6 14 17 22 23 6 7 11 17 31   5v4
Away 3 7:33 Galiardi 1 2 8 15 20 29 5 7 17 18 31 39 5v5
Away 3 7:05 Galiardi 1 2 8 15 20 29 5 6 17 18 31 39 5v5
Away 3 6:32 Stempniak 1 6 14 17 22 23 6 11 22 24 31 55 5v5
Home 3 4:03 D.Sedin 1 2 8 14 17 22 6 11 22 24 31 55 5v5
Away 3 2:31 Stajan 1 8 20 23 36   6 18 22 31 55   4v4
Home 3 0:50 Kassian 1 6 9 15 22 23 5 6 17 22 23 31 5v5
Away 4 4:15 Brodie 1 2 6 17 20   5 7 23 24 31   4v4
Away 4 1:18 Stempniak 1 2 8 15 22   5 7 18 22 31   4v4
# Player EV     PP     SH    
5 GIORDANO, MARK 27:07 8 2 04:49 4 0 01:36 0 4
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 30:56 8 11 05:07 5 0 02:02 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 31:01 10 2 01:18 1 0 03:23 0 5
8 COLBORNE, JOE 15:13 3 3 02:29 1 0 00:10 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 21:45 7 4 03:53 4 0 01:29 0 1
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 02:48 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 12:14 5 4 00:00 0 0 03:01 0 5
18 STAJAN, MATT 17:59 7 4 01:04 0 0 02:25 0 4
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 20:57 7 5 02:33 4 0 00:53 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 15:56 2 3 02:12 1 0 00:10 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 21:27 6 5 04:38 4 0 00:00 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   16 11   5 0   0 5
32 BYRON, PAUL 14:25 0 2 01:27 1 0 00:00 0 0
39 GALIARDI, TJ 13:55 7 2 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
55 O'BRIEN, SHANE 20:19 6 7 00:00 0 0 01:07 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 8 8 5 4 3 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
2 6 4 4 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 5 4 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

RED WARRIOR(S)

Calgary's blueline has been, to be charitable, “uneven” this year.

So losing two guys two seconds in isn't great. But Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Shane O'Brien and T.J. Brodie both worked their tails off. Wideman played 38:05 and had four blocked shots. Brodie played 35:42 and had five shots on goal. Both Giordano (33:32) and O'Brien (21:26) played a ton despite taking penalities.

Full marks to the four surviving blueliners.

Honourable mention to Lance Bouma, who created offense and hit guys and blocked shots and all of that.

SUM IT UP

Calgary played an objectively better team and got a point in their barn. That's not bad.

They pack up their 16-26-7 record and head down the coast to San Jose, where they visit the Sharks at the SAP Center on Monday evening.

There's a chance that there's supplemental discipline from the NHL, though, for all the shenanigans that kicked off the game. I'm not sure if it's anything suspendable, but I wouldn't be shocked to see a fine levied to either Hartley or the club.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 Teamsupreme
January 19 2014, 01:11AM
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I'm actually ashamed. I don't want to be known around the league as "The Goon Squad". The rest of the game was awesome because the players worked so hard for so long, but this disgusts me that this was the hockey game that Hartley wanted to play.

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#2 RexLibris
January 19 2014, 10:48AM
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I have very little respect or admiration for the Canucks organization or John Tortorella. However, I imagine that both will receive the majority of the admonishment over this and not altogether justifiably.

Hartley set the table with his opening lineup, and had the teams been in a playoff series or even within six points of one another in the standings, it could be partially justified as a clever coaching maneuver.

The move depleted a tired team of some good players and evened the talent differential, if only slightly.

But that isn't the real problem here.

These teams aren't anywhere near each other in the league standings and, putting aside their bitter rivalry, there was no justifiable reason for Hartley to start those players.

As I mentioned above, I do not hold Tortorella in high regard, but I can understand his decision to respond with a "heavy" starting lineup and avoid putting his skilled players in a position similar to Kessel was with John Scott this pre-season. I can also empathize with his anger at Hartley and the Flames for the move.

I'm not excusing or justifying his 1st intermission antics.

Leading into the game I was warming to Hartley as a coach who had to take a knife to a gunfight on most nights and had somehow gotten admirable results.

His lineup last night was reminiscent of something Sather would have done during the BoA but without the playoff or standings-proximity rationalizations.

I appreciate the animosity fans here feel towards the Canucks and the release offered by both the line brawl and eliciting the subsequent reaction from Tortorella. But there are opportunities within the game itself for those actions, even the faintest excuse can pass.

An opening faceoff line brawl on a meaningless game twenty days after their last meeting with nothing on the line? That isn't truculence or old time hockey. Its sideshow goonery and while Tortorella needs to be fined for approaching the Flames dressing room in the 1st intermission, the Flames deserve to be fined heavily as well.

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#3 Keith Fredlund
January 19 2014, 12:08AM
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Does anyone think Mcgratten would fight a Sedin?

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#4 -30-
January 19 2014, 11:43AM
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U really think that it was Bob Harley's idea to put out the goon squad to start the game?

This has truculence written all over it.

Maybe Burke believes that Slapshot is the template for a successful hockey team?

-30-

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#5 Joel
January 19 2014, 12:13AM
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Keith Fredlund wrote:

Fines levied to Hartley or the club? For what?

For dressing the fourth line as the opening lineup for the first time all season, and also putting westgarth at centre against a rookie playing his first NHL game. (That was why Bieksa talked to Lain and switched places once he saw Westgarth, he of 2 whole face-offs all year, lining up at centre)

See the Buffalo game earlier this year when the coach got fined for the exact same sort of situation.

Now Tortorella played into it too, although I don't think he thought it would go full line brawl, or he wouldn't have wasted Bieksa and Garrison like that. He probably thought Sestito and McGrattan go, to get it over with after McGrattan had that bigh hit on Alberts in the last game (Alberts is still out because of that injury)

But ultimately, it will be Tortorella getting the bigger fine, and/or suspension.

But hey, this was an entertaining game at least, right?

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#6 Ted
January 19 2014, 02:46PM
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Flamers are run by Burke and coached by Heartless. There is no way the Canucks put out a skill line to get jumped. Burke loves his thug hockey. I can't blame Torts for putting out that line. It was a lame move by Calgary but whatever. It's hockey. I'm glad Torts went off on the Flames but that going to the dressing room part was a bit much.

Burke is up to his old tricks again. If you look at his history, he doesn't put together championship teams. He emphasizes the thugs and tries to mix in skill. Calgary, get used to this mindset!

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#7 They're $hittie
January 19 2014, 09:38AM
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this is what it is going to be for flames fans while burke is there. LOL

#truculance

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#8 Keith Fredlund
January 18 2014, 11:57PM
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Fines levied to Hartley or the club? For what?

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#9 Monaertchi Gaudnett
January 19 2014, 11:20AM
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@RexLibris

I completely agree with you, Rex. I just hope we do it again next game with the Nucks.

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#10 Primo
January 19 2014, 10:08AM
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Stubblejumper77 wrote:

Now that's certainly a way to engage your players and get them into the game...and the media, the fans, the bloggers, the league office...

Gotta give Hartley credit..he suckered Tort in knowing the recent California road-swing where they tried to get physical and got man-handled. Hartley outcoached Torts, and the Nucks lost their composure and were off their game. Hartley's tactics nearly won the game except for a weak penalty call on Gio (and subsequent late non-calls on VAN).

Entertaining to say the least.

GFG!

Agree with Hartley out coaching Torts! Don't agree with your blame on the refs. The blame is squarely on weak goaltending. Ramo as usual very weak in shootouts and like Berra allows 1-2 soft goals a game. An area that will be addressed by Burke in the off-season.

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#11 Ed Wailin'
January 19 2014, 12:39AM
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I can't decide if that was an epic bait by Hartley or an epic meltdown by torts. Westgarth at center was strange, but I felt like it was more of a line matching thing gone wrong vs. a pre-meditated attempt to get a line brawl going right at puck drop.... either way, I hate to say it, but most entertaining game of the year in a TMZ kinda way...

I hate sestito so much, happy to see ern punch his face.

Warm feelings inside... so confused...

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#12 jeremywilhelm
January 19 2014, 02:13AM
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Silly outrage, engaged!!!!

Maybe its just me, but anyone losing their minds over this is being ridiculous.

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#13 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 19 2014, 09:04AM
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OK - let's be real;

NOBODY intentionally started a full line brawl.

the only two that dropped the gloves at the puck drop were Westgarth and McGratton. Everyone else joined in at the chorus.

what happened here is that once you start a fire, you really have no way to control how far it spreads, and the fire spread farther then anticipated.

It looked to me like the canucks took the edge in the fisticuffs, but lost the battle by playing into the Flames goonery, and ending up short their two best defensemen.

Torts is just torts... he is a full on A-type personality that has too much testosterone for his own good. he didn't "think" about going to the Flames dressing room - he did what his instincts drove him to do. Torts is a bit of a loose cannon in this way. Love him or hate him, your never going to be guessing where he is at.

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#14 SmellOfVictory
January 19 2014, 01:51PM
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I think the fact that the Nucks actually had two decent defencemen ejected, while the Flames relieved themselves of a pair of pylons, probably helped the outcome of the game.

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#15 Drams
January 19 2014, 01:53PM
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@ianberg1

If by in his head you mean, turtling in the dressing room then yes you are correct.

And I'm glad you pointed it out, every Calgary line is a 4th line (or third line at best).

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#16 Baceda
January 19 2014, 02:21AM
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Also, sucks to lose to a Higgins goal in the shoot-out, a player who passed through Calgary's ranks a few years back, and has been solid for the #*nuck's ever since.

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#17 Bloodsweatandoil
January 19 2014, 08:18AM
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Wish the Flames would have got the two points!!

Hartley had every right to start whichever line he wanted, Tortorella the same, he should have sucked it up and acted a little more composed.

I am an old school hockey guy and at the opening faceoff you could sense what was about to happen, I was pretty proud of Calgary and more proud of Giordano's shot to Burrow's face!

Nothing brings a team closer together and makes a team better than what we witnessed last night!

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#18 cunning_linguist
January 19 2014, 12:31AM
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Call me crazy, but that was the most fun I've had watching a Flames game in a long time...

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#19 Ed Wailin'
January 19 2014, 01:38AM
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@teamsupreme - I hear ya man, but the flames are NOT going to beat the canucks with skill alone. That was the most engaged I've seen the team play in quite a while, finishing checks and skating hard. I'm not defending the fights or starting line up but its a prime example of how scoring goals simply doesn't get your blood pumping as much as getting in a scrap and playing with a chip on your shoulder. I know face punching is a four letter word around here but Iggy played his best when he was pissed off. We got to the cup final on heart alone, not skill, so a lil bit of truculence may not be so bad afterall IMHO.

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#20 beloch
January 19 2014, 04:55AM
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There's no doubt in my mind that both coaches were looking for a fight to stoke a fire in their players' bellies. Hartley put his goon-squad out and then Torts put his out. I think what surprised Torts was that it wasn't just a two-goon fight!

I honestly doubt Hartley instructed the full line to fight, as Torts seemed to assume. In 20/20 hindsight, doing so would have been brilliant since shortening the bench on a night when the Canucks were already run down (and removing a couple of their better defenders to boot!) probably worked in the Flames' favor for the rest of the game. However, that tactic could easily have turned out disastrously for the Flames. e.g. If the other Canucks had declined to fight it would have resulted in a whole heap o' penalty killing pain to start the Flames' game! Given the risks involved this was probably just a case of the usual two-coach-approved, two-goon staged fight blowing out of control thanks to emotions running raw on two frustrated teams who hate each other. Given how often staged goon-fights happen these days, I don't think there's a logical reason for the league to apply supplemental discipline to the coaches or ejected players. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Shanahan does do something to the ejected players just to show his displeasure over one of the greatest brawls in decades.

Torts, of course, is not the most stable guy. As the commentator who used to play under him pointed out, he has a history of doing stupid, asinine stuff, and charging the Flames dressing room in the first intermission is pure farm-league material! He should have been shown to the door right then and there. The league pretty much has to do something about that because it's going to be a meme by Monday. I only wish Torts had been dumb enough to take a shot at McGrattan! BIG ERN SMASH!

Some people are going to point to this game as an example of the primitive brutality of the NHL at its very worst. Well, the line-brawl wasn't pretty, but nobody was injured (that we know of). I'm not saying it's related, but there weren't any cheap-shots or dangerous hits for the rest of this game. There were no incidents of head-hunting or vicious boarding. This was actually a pretty clean game aside from the fighting. The only player who left (after the ejections) was one of the Sedin girls, and that was due to an injury from a previous game being aggravated by being breathed-on wrong. (Seriously, screw your iron-man streak and go heal dude. You're not helping your team out.) I'm accustomed to being shouting mad several times a period every time I watch the Canucks play the Flames because the Canucks are a freakin' dirty team, and they dive and embellish to boot. Aside from the fighting, this was the cleanest game I've seen them play against the Flames in ages! This really surprised me since I previously didn't buy the claims that goons actually discourage dirty play. Maybe they do! Then again, it might simply have been that both teams had to be careful to avoid penalties to keep their defenders from wearing out.

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#21 MontanaMan
January 19 2014, 07:47AM
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Joel - just to be clear, Hartley didn't start Westgarth "against a rookie". Tortorella (who gets to make his line up after Hartley submits his) sent a rookie out against Westgarth. So if you have an issue with a rookie being sent out, your issue is with Torts.

As far as the fights go I don't have an issue with it. The Canucks started a pile of fights against LA last week so they aren't innocent in all of this. The real issue is Tortorella storning down to the Flames dressing room which is considered sacred ground. Torts should be suspended for 10 games. The only thing better is if the Big Ern could have squared off with the mouthpiece.

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#22 Dazza
January 19 2014, 09:17AM
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@Teamsupreme

I totally agree with you, but the Canucks are a total goon team (the most hated team and fans in the league!) and at some point you have to draw the line. Remember Alberts cheap plays on Comeau and then knocking out Backlund last year? We did nothing in response. Anybody touches one of their guys (clean hit or not), it's a major production until retribution is had. We've taken so much from this team over the years....enough is enough.

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#23 Stubblejumper77
January 19 2014, 09:39AM
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Now that's certainly a way to engage your players and get them into the game...and the media, the fans, the bloggers, the league office...

Gotta give Hartley credit..he suckered Tort in knowing the recent California road-swing where they tried to get physical and got man-handled. Hartley outcoached Torts, and the Nucks lost their composure and were off their game. Hartley's tactics nearly won the game except for a weak penalty call on Gio (and subsequent late non-calls on VAN).

Entertaining to say the least.

GFG!

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#24 drams
January 19 2014, 01:50PM
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@mattyc

This is only classless if O'Brien is an alcoholic.

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#25 redhot1
January 19 2014, 12:53AM
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On an unrelated note, Johnny Hockey is currently second in votes for the Hobey Baker. Everyone vote if you can! http://www.hobeybaker.com/awards/the-hobey-baker-memorial-award/vote

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#26 aloudoun
January 19 2014, 01:02AM
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Torts is flat out crazy. Why would he think it was a good idea to walk over to the Flames dressing room? What we should have done was let him in and lock the door…

I hate the Canucks.

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#27 Fire It Up
January 19 2014, 03:54AM
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@Jibmeister

...or he was an extra D put into the power play...

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#28 VK63
January 19 2014, 10:32AM
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Welp. It was hockey day in CANADA.

Also… elliot friedman.

good grief.

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#29 suba steve
January 19 2014, 11:26AM
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Hartley's starting lineup was his choice to make.

Put McGrattan up against the Sedin's and nothing happens, except perhaps a Canucks goal. That was Tortorella's choice, as was his storming the Flame's room. Torts knows THE CODE better then anyone. He is the one that escalated this and the one who carried it into intermission. It's on him.

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#30 SB
January 19 2014, 04:10PM
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This is just old time hockey. BB go sign the new Hanson Brothers.

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#31 Lemming
January 20 2014, 04:50PM
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I'd say I'm surprised that Flames fans seem perfectly happy to play the game with full intent to injure (like giving Burrows a bunch of licks to the face) and good it up (like everything the Flames did last night), but I'd be lying.

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#32 TRAV
January 19 2014, 11:05AM
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RexLibris wrote:

I have very little respect or admiration for the Canucks organization or John Tortorella. However, I imagine that both will receive the majority of the admonishment over this and not altogether justifiably.

Hartley set the table with his opening lineup, and had the teams been in a playoff series or even within six points of one another in the standings, it could be partially justified as a clever coaching maneuver.

The move depleted a tired team of some good players and evened the talent differential, if only slightly.

But that isn't the real problem here.

These teams aren't anywhere near each other in the league standings and, putting aside their bitter rivalry, there was no justifiable reason for Hartley to start those players.

As I mentioned above, I do not hold Tortorella in high regard, but I can understand his decision to respond with a "heavy" starting lineup and avoid putting his skilled players in a position similar to Kessel was with John Scott this pre-season. I can also empathize with his anger at Hartley and the Flames for the move.

I'm not excusing or justifying his 1st intermission antics.

Leading into the game I was warming to Hartley as a coach who had to take a knife to a gunfight on most nights and had somehow gotten admirable results.

His lineup last night was reminiscent of something Sather would have done during the BoA but without the playoff or standings-proximity rationalizations.

I appreciate the animosity fans here feel towards the Canucks and the release offered by both the line brawl and eliciting the subsequent reaction from Tortorella. But there are opportunities within the game itself for those actions, even the faintest excuse can pass.

An opening faceoff line brawl on a meaningless game twenty days after their last meeting with nothing on the line? That isn't truculence or old time hockey. Its sideshow goonery and while Tortorella needs to be fined for approaching the Flames dressing room in the 1st intermission, the Flames deserve to be fined heavily as well.

To be honest I think that Hartley can and should start whomever he wants. I remember back in the day when Oliwa would start most games for the Flames. Sometimes the other teams coach would line up a tough guy against him and sometimes nothing would happen. I think that a coach should be able to send out whomever he dresses whenever he wants at any time in the game. I think this is getting overblown.

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#33 Jeff Lebowski
January 19 2014, 01:04PM
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Hartley's starting forwards were provocative, there can be no denying that. Any rationalizations otherwise are just homer fans ventilating.

However, Tortorella is a dumb, jerk for going to the hallway. What the hell did he think was going to come of it? An apology? A spark for his team? Goof.

There was no sensible reason to do that. Tortorella is not a sensible person. He's an ego filled, cartoonish, blowhard. A perfect fit for that ridiculous franchise.

Bieksa is a disgrace, as well as Kesler and Burrows. The history of that franchise is filled with these kind of guys. The blame falls on the canucks but they can't help themselves. They're genetically modified to be idiotic at all times. Just look, listen, read their fanbase for evidence of stupidity. It's not correlation, it's causation. Being in Vancouver and affiliated to the canucks (working or cheering for them) makes you dumb ass dumb.

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#34 Kevin R
January 19 2014, 01:04PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I have very little respect or admiration for the Canucks organization or John Tortorella. However, I imagine that both will receive the majority of the admonishment over this and not altogether justifiably.

Hartley set the table with his opening lineup, and had the teams been in a playoff series or even within six points of one another in the standings, it could be partially justified as a clever coaching maneuver.

The move depleted a tired team of some good players and evened the talent differential, if only slightly.

But that isn't the real problem here.

These teams aren't anywhere near each other in the league standings and, putting aside their bitter rivalry, there was no justifiable reason for Hartley to start those players.

As I mentioned above, I do not hold Tortorella in high regard, but I can understand his decision to respond with a "heavy" starting lineup and avoid putting his skilled players in a position similar to Kessel was with John Scott this pre-season. I can also empathize with his anger at Hartley and the Flames for the move.

I'm not excusing or justifying his 1st intermission antics.

Leading into the game I was warming to Hartley as a coach who had to take a knife to a gunfight on most nights and had somehow gotten admirable results.

His lineup last night was reminiscent of something Sather would have done during the BoA but without the playoff or standings-proximity rationalizations.

I appreciate the animosity fans here feel towards the Canucks and the release offered by both the line brawl and eliciting the subsequent reaction from Tortorella. But there are opportunities within the game itself for those actions, even the faintest excuse can pass.

An opening faceoff line brawl on a meaningless game twenty days after their last meeting with nothing on the line? That isn't truculence or old time hockey. Its sideshow goonery and while Tortorella needs to be fined for approaching the Flames dressing room in the 1st intermission, the Flames deserve to be fined heavily as well.

Seriously Rex. You are in the minority here. These are two teams who are struggling & being accused of playing uninspired soft hockey & not scoring goals. There are not too many fans of any team that didn't enjoy the intensity of this game. When the line brawl occurred how many sat & booed. People were on their feet with grins of amazement & total enjoyment. Word will be that was one game you didn't want to miss. The bar I was at was buzzing. Guess what, this is part of hockey, don't come telling me like some Jehova witness that this is bad & terrible for the image of hockey.

The cheap hits from behind is the garbage I cant stand. Players are getting seriously hurt & you don't have to be in hockey pools to know how many more injuries are happening in the NHL. Certainly not from what we saw last night. That was the most I enjoyed watching a game in quite some time.

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#35 ianberg1
January 19 2014, 01:43PM
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I'm not sure what Torts was upset about re. the starting Flames lineup since he & everyone else in the league assume all Flames lines are 3rd or 4th line quality anyways. This undermines Tort's defense. What About Bob? Well, he just provoked Torts and the result was a classic meltdown. Love it, the Flames are IN HIS HEAD now.

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#36 RKD
January 19 2014, 05:01PM
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After the beating the Flames took against the Jets, this was probably orchestrated by Brian Burke against his old team. Torts and Hartley have bad blood. When Bob was in Atlanta and Torts in TB, Bob tried to get into TB's dressing room. Still, Torts can't do that. He knows he crossed the line there. McGrattan, Westgarth, Jones are not Jon Scott, I don't think they would have tried to fight the Sedins. Maybe some pushing and shoving or they would have waited until they were matched up again to drop the gloves. Torts should be suspended.

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#37 Captain Ron
January 19 2014, 09:58PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Seriously Rex. You are in the minority here. These are two teams who are struggling & being accused of playing uninspired soft hockey & not scoring goals. There are not too many fans of any team that didn't enjoy the intensity of this game. When the line brawl occurred how many sat & booed. People were on their feet with grins of amazement & total enjoyment. Word will be that was one game you didn't want to miss. The bar I was at was buzzing. Guess what, this is part of hockey, don't come telling me like some Jehova witness that this is bad & terrible for the image of hockey.

The cheap hits from behind is the garbage I cant stand. Players are getting seriously hurt & you don't have to be in hockey pools to know how many more injuries are happening in the NHL. Certainly not from what we saw last night. That was the most I enjoyed watching a game in quite some time.

Great comment Kevin. I agree most fun we had watching a game in a long time.

Far as I am concerned Rex's comment is nonsense. No wonder some people including me think he is a closet troll. No opportunity wasted to take a shot at the Flames.

Hartley started a lineup that he thought would give him a tactical advantage against the Canucks and that blowhard behind their bench. Far as I could see it worked. Torts has skin too thin for his own good. I thought it was hilarious how Hartley schrugged it off after the game the way he did.

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#38 Baceda
January 19 2014, 02:17AM
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Colborne is F*in' Hot $#*t in the shoot out.

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#39 coachedpotatoe
January 19 2014, 07:59AM
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Firstly I did not see the first two periods and have only watched the fight and the meltdown once. I just want to say if anyone is to blame for this it has to be Torts; the home team has the last change (or to submit his starting line up last) and he could have started anyone he wanted to. He could have seen this as a chance to go after the Flames 4th line with his first line and get an early scoring chance instead he decided to respond with his own 4th line and I suspect with words like don't let them push you around.( I have no proof of this but it's what I feel)His melt down and going to the Flames dressing room should result in serious discipline. My question is will any of the secondary fights result in suspensions?

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#40 Bottsy
January 19 2014, 09:26AM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Joel - just to be clear, Hartley didn't start Westgarth "against a rookie". Tortorella (who gets to make his line up after Hartley submits his) sent a rookie out against Westgarth. So if you have an issue with a rookie being sent out, your issue is with Torts.

As far as the fights go I don't have an issue with it. The Canucks started a pile of fights against LA last week so they aren't innocent in all of this. The real issue is Tortorella storning down to the Flames dressing room which is considered sacred ground. Torts should be suspended for 10 games. The only thing better is if the Big Ern could have squared off with the mouthpiece.

Actually what would have been better would have been to let Malarchuk tune on Torts - that would have been sweet!

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#41 GeezMoney
January 19 2014, 11:37AM
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That was an embarrassing performance for the Canucks. To even allow a team as brutal as the Flames to play themselves in to an overtime game is pathetic. But this is what the Canucks are reduced to these days.

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#42 mattyc
January 19 2014, 01:11PM
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GIF of Burrows mocking SOB with a drinking motion. Not a huge fan of the brawl, etc. but doing something that just crosses a whole other line. So classless...

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#43 TheCalgaryJames
January 19 2014, 03:10PM
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I have no issue with Hartley baiting Tortorella. You play the game you think you can win and that's what Hartley did. Tortorella bit and ended up looking like a total ass in the process an is probably going to miss some games at a time of year when the Canucks RELLY can't afford him to. In contrast Hartley was calm an composed and let the Canucks do the complaining.

If I'm a Canucks fan I'm pretty unnerved with how easy it apparently is to get the entire organization off its game. This has been going on for years now. If they had played their game thy win this in a route instead they get suckered in to the mud with us.

Really proud of what I saw out of Wideman, Brodie and Gio last night. Character performance from those guys last night!

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#44 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 19 2014, 04:16PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I have very little respect or admiration for the Canucks organization or John Tortorella. However, I imagine that both will receive the majority of the admonishment over this and not altogether justifiably.

Hartley set the table with his opening lineup, and had the teams been in a playoff series or even within six points of one another in the standings, it could be partially justified as a clever coaching maneuver.

The move depleted a tired team of some good players and evened the talent differential, if only slightly.

But that isn't the real problem here.

These teams aren't anywhere near each other in the league standings and, putting aside their bitter rivalry, there was no justifiable reason for Hartley to start those players.

As I mentioned above, I do not hold Tortorella in high regard, but I can understand his decision to respond with a "heavy" starting lineup and avoid putting his skilled players in a position similar to Kessel was with John Scott this pre-season. I can also empathize with his anger at Hartley and the Flames for the move.

I'm not excusing or justifying his 1st intermission antics.

Leading into the game I was warming to Hartley as a coach who had to take a knife to a gunfight on most nights and had somehow gotten admirable results.

His lineup last night was reminiscent of something Sather would have done during the BoA but without the playoff or standings-proximity rationalizations.

I appreciate the animosity fans here feel towards the Canucks and the release offered by both the line brawl and eliciting the subsequent reaction from Tortorella. But there are opportunities within the game itself for those actions, even the faintest excuse can pass.

An opening faceoff line brawl on a meaningless game twenty days after their last meeting with nothing on the line? That isn't truculence or old time hockey. Its sideshow goonery and while Tortorella needs to be fined for approaching the Flames dressing room in the 1st intermission, the Flames deserve to be fined heavily as well.

hownon gods green earth can the league punish someone for starting the game with the fourth line??? is there a rule? sounds kinda stupid... and hypocritical.

first of all this line has been playing regular shifflts every game..m not like we took someone thats been sitting in the press box for 15 games, and who averages 50 minutes max per season.

secondly... if they are allowed to collect an NHL paycheque, how can one say they should or shouldnt play in this or that game, or this or that line, or not at the beginning or not at the end etc.

point to the last time McGratton has started a fight with anyone outside of his weightclass... heck, us flames fans have been aching for him to deal with some f the cheap shot artists (like Ferance) who take liberties but he sticks to the big goon types and pats them lvingly when he is done.

Please point out where any flame has forced an openent to fight, unlike Ferance.

I dont believe for a second any canucks were forced to fight and personally feel they were all willing combatants.

McG dropped his gloves and so did fridgegarth... mcgrattons partner joined immediately as it was preplanned while wesgarths was allowed to slink away without a punch.

all the other fights started afterwRds... not preplanned but joining in.

Oiler fans as you remember rejoiced in ferance knocking teeh out of stempniak even tho stemps said no thanks... to my eye everyone here was fully free and not forced.

youve been a reasonable voice here but you are slipping on this one a bit.

personally im not a big fan of fighters or fighting... but to me its stupid to allow it, but then to consider fining a team for starting their fighter... tbis would suggest the league is in fact complicit in it and maybe actually liable for injuries like concusions.

but for oiler or nuk fans to take exception or even th league is hypocrasy.

:-)

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#45 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 19 2014, 04:27PM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Hartley's starting forwards were provocative, there can be no denying that. Any rationalizations otherwise are just homer fans ventilating.

However, Tortorella is a dumb, jerk for going to the hallway. What the hell did he think was going to come of it? An apology? A spark for his team? Goof.

There was no sensible reason to do that. Tortorella is not a sensible person. He's an ego filled, cartoonish, blowhard. A perfect fit for that ridiculous franchise.

Bieksa is a disgrace, as well as Kesler and Burrows. The history of that franchise is filled with these kind of guys. The blame falls on the canucks but they can't help themselves. They're genetically modified to be idiotic at all times. Just look, listen, read their fanbase for evidence of stupidity. It's not correlation, it's causation. Being in Vancouver and affiliated to the canucks (working or cheering for them) makes you dumb ass dumb.

how many minutes per game does a line have to play before they can start the game?? this line plays all the time not just 90 seconds per game... is there rules that suggezt zome players are entitled and others arent? I azzume if they are allowed to dress they are allowed to ztart. Nobody pulled a Oiler or Canuck, like Burtuzi or Ferance, and forced zomeone to fight...even after they declined...

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#46 Lemming
January 20 2014, 04:51PM
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**goon it up

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#47 Jibmeister
January 19 2014, 02:52AM
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Side note for Flames fans: Was at the Victoria Royals game tonight and they had Kanzig playing forward on the powerplay.

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#48 beloch
January 19 2014, 04:16AM
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Jibmeister wrote:

Side note for Flames fans: Was at the Victoria Royals game tonight and they had Kanzig playing forward on the powerplay.

Were they playing "park the wookie in the crease" with him like they used to do with Jackman? Sweet.

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#49 prendrefeu
January 19 2014, 09:50AM
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Truculence, you say? I'm in.

While I don't want to see the 'Macleod Trail Brawlers' become the nickname for the Flames, I do want to see a team that delivers skill on a plate of fire.

Bring it.

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#50 EugeneV
January 19 2014, 11:49AM
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prendrefeu wrote:

Truculence, you say? I'm in.

While I don't want to see the 'Macleod Trail Brawlers' become the nickname for the Flames, I do want to see a team that delivers skill on a plate of fire.

Bring it.

"skill on a plate of fire"

Thank you, I love that!

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