TORONTO – Don Cherry said the 15-day suspension handed to Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella for last week’s opening line brawl against Calgary was too much.
Cherry, speaking Saturday on his “Coach’s Corner” segment on Hockey Night in Canada, said two games would have made the point.
“What really caused all the trouble was (Flames coach Bob) Hartley (who was fined) $25,000,” Cherry said.
Hartley sent out his fourth line, which included enforcer Kevin Westgarth at centre instead of his regular position on the right wing, to start the game Saturday. Tortorella responded by starting defenceman Kevin Bieksa at centre as well as tough guy Tom Sestito, who dropped the gloves with Calgary’s other enforcer Brian McGrattan.
“What he should have done, have two tough wingers, you’re all right,” Cherry said. “Then you put a centreman in, there’s no problem … when (Hartley) put Westgarth in there, he was dead. He was going to get fined for sure.”
Cherry made no reference to Tortorella trying to get into the Flames locker-room during the first intermission.
In announcing the suspensions on Monday, Colin Campbell, the NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operation said that was one of the key reasons for Tortorella’s lengthy suspension.
“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.” Campbell said.