Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Follow The Bouncing Ball

7

torts_flames

Well that was one way to relax a slumping Canucks lineup. In the 3rd game of Hockey Day in Canada, the Canucks and Flames went to the 5th round of a shootout before the Canucks prevailed. The game featured a line brawl off the opening face off.

Kellan Lain Breaks 50 Year Old NHL Record

flames_penaltysummary

Penalty summary from the first 2 seconds of the game.

24 year old Kellan Lain was playing his first NHL game on Saturday night. Most of his family flew into Vancouver and were watching, when he played for 2 seconds. He was then penalized 5 minutes for fighting, and a game misconduct as part of a massive line brawl that erupted, resulting in over 150 penalty minutes. The previous record for the fastest fight to start an NHL career was 12 seconds, set by John Ferguson, over 50 years ago. Clearly the teams didn’t read my blog post about fighting in the NHL.

There were many subtleties about the game even before the puck was dropped. In an NHL game, the road team submits their starting lineup first; the home team can then review that and submit their own starting lineup. Calgary’s starting 5 was: Kevin Westgarth, Blair Jones, Brian McGrattan, Chris Butler, and Ladislav Smid. Without their goaltender, that’s a combined weight of 1097 pounds. John Tortorella naturally responded by starting his 4th line. All hell broke loose after that. According to The Code, McGrattan had to answer the bell for injuring Andrew Alberts in the previous game between these teams. He is now square with the house as he shed enough blood that they needed to give him a new jersey and scrape the ice to clean the blood off.

And Then It Got Weird

At the start of the first intermission, Tortorella decided to go all Ghost Ops and storm the Flames dressing room. At the start of the season I was not a fan of Tortorella but I’ve become a big fan of his intensity, and how honest he is with the players and media. But this is just bush league. This happened after the 1st period, which took about one hour to play. Plenty of time to mull it over and think about things like a rational human being. The best part of this has to be that tough guy McGratton has to hold back Torts and Flames assistant coach Clint Malarchuk. Cooler heads prevailed, but Coach Tortorella will most definitely be disciplined by the league for this mess. The whole situation is an embarrassment for the NHL and hockey as a whole.

So what does it all mean? 

For all the moral victories, blocked shots, fights and bloodshed, the Canucks record in the last 10 games is 2-5-3. It’s all a wonderful distraction from the fact that the Canucks needed 5 rounds of the shootout to beat the slumping Calgary Flames. Yes – the Flames have been playing even worse than they normally play. Previous to this win, they had scored a total of 1 goal in their last 3 games.

First prize is the Stanley Cup, no one cares who comes  in 2nd place. We can only hope that the Canucks can get into the playoffs and get hot at the right time. If the team wants to go deep into the playoffs, they will have to remember the lessons they’ve learned at this point of the season.

UPDATE: John Tortorella has been suspended for 15 days without pay. This amounts to a 6 game suspension. Tortorella is to have no contact with the team before, during or after any games for the duration of the suspension. Calgary coach Bob Hartley has been fined $25,000.

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Comments

7 Responses to “Follow The Bouncing Ball”
  1. The Brown Knight says:

    I don’t fully understand why Torts reacted the way he did, but hell…………….I loved it!

    If it gets the boys going, the more power to Torts.

    • Bruce Ng says:

      Thanks for reading!

      It was entertaining, I’ll say that much!! hahaha! I don’t like how it looks to other major sports, but I have to agree with you – if it somehow galvanizes the team and gets them going, then that’s a good move.

      It makes you wonder “what’s next” though. Battle Royale? :D

      • The Brown Knight says:

        I haven’t watched a game since we lost to the Flyers (i.e. when we gave up the last minute goal, I walked over to the TV, smiled, gave the middle finger, shut off the TV, and haven’t looked back since :-p), but my interest in the game is starting to come back after a near month layoff.

        The Torts outburst may have won me back for this season………but I digress.

        Based on what I’ve been seeing and hearing, I think this was a deliberate move on Torts’ part.

        Torts might be an emotional guy, but he ain’t no dummy. In a weird sort of way, despite all of our losses this month, I get a sense that this Canuck team MIGHT be coming together as a group. Ever since the LA game when the Canucks attempted retribution on Brown for the Luongo hit, the Canucks have looked like a team that won’t take no shit.

        Don Cherry probably got ahead of himself when he stated that “we’d go to the cup,” but I like the new attitude of this team. It’s all I’ve ever wanted from this team and core since the WCE era.

        • Bruce Ng says:

          the team doesn’t have the swagger of the WCE era or even a few years ago, but the core is still there. i like the heart of the team.

          i wonder about the Torts suspension too – like you say, he’s no dummy. he had the entire 1st period to settle down. yet he still stormed the Flames room. if it was by design, i may have underestimated his evil genius :) you have to look no further than Zack Kassian, who seems to have been inspired.

  2. Dean Elbe says:

    If this turns out to be the turning point for the canucks season and they go on to have playoff success, this outburst will be remembered in the same light as Roger Nielsens white towel waving incident was 32 years ago

    • Bruce Ng says:

      Thanks for reading Deaner!

      Agreed. should there be successes later on, this would be up there as the TSN Turning Point of the season. it’s not going to be an easy road if Hamhuis keeps playing 30 minutes a night, but in the playoffs you go as far as your goalie will take you, and Luongo has looked great.

  3. Tom McMichaels says:

    Canucks will be what the Flames are 2 or 3 years from now.

    loser core and loser fans. Karma is coming to collect.

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