Canucks, Flames throw down in line brawl after opening faceoff
Saturday night line brawl! Woot woot!
The Vancouver Canucks’ 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames got off to a fight-filled start when both teams used their fourth lines for the opening faceoff. Defenseman Kevin Bieksa took the opening draw for Vancouver and a line brawl broke out as soon as the puck was dropped.
All 10 skaters dropped gloves, resulting in eight game misconducts, and 144 penalty minutes were assessed.
"If it wasn’t my first game back maybe I would have dropped the mitts, too, but I didn’t want to get hurt again," said Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who had 31 saves after missing six games with an ankle injury.
An altercation broke out near the Flames’ dressing room during the first intermission. CBC, which televised the game, showed Canucks head coach John Tortorella attempting to go into the Flames locker room at Rogers Arena, with Calgary enforcer Brian McGrattan pushing him away.
"I lifted my head and there he was," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I don’t understand. I got out of there. I don’t need to get suspended or fined. There is nothing to settle there. I just don’t understand what was going on."
Flames goaltender coach Clint Malarchuk came out of the Flames dressing room after Tortorella and McGrattan were separated. Malarchuk followed Tortorella, but was restrained by several members of Calgary’s staff and McGrattan.
Much of the altercation appeared off camera, but another camera showed Chris Tanev pulling Alex Burrows back toward the Canucks dressing room.
Before the brawl, Tortorella was yelling at Hartley for putting his fourth line out there. As For The Win points out, Tortorella did the same thing in March 2012 as coach of the Rangers, calling out Devils coach Peter DeBoer before a line brawl.
"It’s easy for people to say put the Sedins out there and it’s deflated," Tortorella said. "I can’t put our players at risk that way. With the lineup he had, I am not going to put those type of players at risk, and that’s what ensues. I’m not proud of it. I have apologized to every one of the players involved in it. I don’t feel great about it at all."
"Those guys are playing well for us," Hartley said. "They got us a goal last game. We’re not scoring many goals. We had zero intentions there. Those guys are playing hard for us. As far as I know, they were the home team. They had the luxury to put whoever they wanted on the ice. He decided who he puts on. It is what it is."
As for Saturday’s participants, among them was Canucks tough guy Tom Sestito, who jumped the Kings’ Jordan Nolan on a faceoff earlier this week.
Just be careful what you say about Sestito. His 13-year-old sister is a real spitfire on Twitter.
NHL.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.