If this is the last we’ve seen of John Tortorella behind the Vancouver bench, he went out in a blaze. The coach was steaming at Calgary’s Bob Hartley following a game in which Canucks star Daniel Sedin was injured on a scary hit from behind.
It didn’t take long for Stephane Quintal to be thrust into the spotlight.
On the same day Brendan Shanahan is officially introduced to the Toronto media, his successor as NHL chief disciplinarian – at least for the time being – will have to review and decide how much supplemental punishment is in order for Calgary’s Paul Byron following his dangerous hit on Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin.
Most importantly, however, let’s hope the Canucks star, who missed time earlier in the campaign with a concussion, didn’t suffer serious injury. He lay motionless on the ice briefly following the hit from behind and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He appeared to move his fingers on the video replay and early reports were that he had movement in his extremities and his prognosis was good.
The scary play and aftermath was a dark end to what has been a horrible season for Vancouver. A bitterly disappointing performance, a lineup ravaged by injuries, the Roberto Luongo controversy and a coach who kept making headlines for the wrong reasons.
John Tortorella, despite his best intentions, again couldn’t contain his feelings in the post-game news conference. Likely frustrated by the entire season, but clearly angry with Calgary coach Bob Hartley, Tortorella wore his heart on his sleeve even while trying to put it back in his chest. The two coaches have a history and Tortorella infamously stormed the Flames’ dressing room during the intermission of a game earlier this year in an attempt to get at Hartley.
We may know in the coming days whether Tortorella has coached his last game in Vancouver. If he has, he’ll only have himself to blame, but we’ll miss him all the same. The honesty and color he provides, while not necessarily advisable, is real. (Hey, he could try TV again. Or maybe even a magazine).
First up, however, is Quintal on Byron. While the intent didn’t look awful or extra forceful, it was a clearly reckless play so close to the boards, and from behind, and merits a suspension. The question for Quintal is how many?