The Great Wall of Torts
Let us now take a trip down memory lane. Canucks fans will never forget the day former head coach John Tortorella tried to fight then Flames coach, Bob Hartley. It’s storytime, so sit back and enjoy.
The night was January 18th, 2014. The Canucks were set to take on the Calgary Flames at home from Rogers Arena on a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. Our story begins when coach Tortorella catches wind of who the Flames were putting on the ice to start the game.
Kevin Westgarth, Brian McGrattan, and Blair Jones — the Flames fourth line. Keep in mind, this is back in the days where enforcers in the league were still common. Those three players were just that — enforcers. Nearly everyone agreed that this was a bush league move from Hartley, and that Tortorella did the right thing by not sending out his usual starters in Daniel and Henrik Sedin, or the second line of Ryan Kesler.
Instead, an irate Tortorella decided to respond with his own fourth line. Well, sort of. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa lined up at center ice to take the opening draw of the game.
Tom Sestito was also on the ice for the opening draw, and after the game said, “Torts told us they were starting their idiots over there, so we had to match that”. As a result, the following line brawl ensued. Enjoy.
It was after this line brawl, that Tortorella got carried away. After barking at Hartley and the Flames bench, Tortorella made an attempt to fight, well, everybody in the Flames locker room. He stormed the Flames’ dressing room, presumably looking to physically confront Hartley. Multiple Flames players blocked his path, and Tortorella eventually was pulled away and back into the Canucks dressing room. You can watch that video here.
The whole thing looked like it had come straight out of a WWE segment. As a result, Tortorella was suspended and fined. He was then fired by the Canucks at the end of the season after the Canucks failed to reach the playoffs.
Flash forward, and Tortorella is a successful coach with the Blue Jackets. Yesterday wasn’t his first game back against the Canucks, but there was a pretty hilarious tweet that came from Dan Murphy that referenced the infamous incident.
That right there is a divider designed to keep the home team and visiting team’s dressing rooms separated. I think we should call it “The Great Wall of Torts”.