The optics of a player suspension is pretty simple: he can’t play in any games and he doesn’t get paid. His salary goes to the NHL Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund instead.
Even though the player can’t play in games and isn’t getting paid, he’s expected to show up to work and participate in practice.
For a suspended coach it’s a little different. When the National Hockey League announced Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella‘s suspension, the release read:
Mr. Tortorella’s suspension is effective retroactive to January 19 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 2. He will miss six games. He is not permitted to have any interaction with his club prior to, during or after games.
What does that mean? The Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre tried to get the answer from general manager Mike Gillis when he spoke to the media during Tuesday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
“There’s a number of limitations that [the NHL] has imposed, but the gist of it is, is that he won’t be able to have any contact with the players if [they] are in the building or during a game or practice,” Gillis said.
“He can be in the building and around, but just can’t talk to the players?” MacIntyre asked.
“No, he can’t be around when there’s players participating in a practice or a game and he can’t contact any of the players.”
MacIntyre followed up by asking, “But he can work with the coaching staff on preparation?”
“I don’t want to get into the detail of it,” Gillis responded. “He [Tortorella] can talk to me if he wanted to or other people. The fundamental is he can’t have any contact with the players.”
There you have it. A coach’s suspension is still as unclear as it was before.