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VIDEO: Canucks. Flames. Line Brawls. Tortorella and Hartley. The Good Ol' Hockey Game.
Let's get the boring part out of the way and quick: the Vancouver Canucks won 3-2 on Saturday night, scoring the final two goals of a shootout against the Calgary Flames, buoyed by two separate tying goals from Ryan Kesler and Yannick Weber. Oh, and Chris Higgins had the shootout winner and Roberto Luongo was stellar, stopping 31 of 33 shots and four of five skills competition attempts.
But that wasn't the story.
Instead, the finale of CBC's Hockey Day in Canada was headlined by a 10-man brawl just two seconds into the contest, with John Tortorella matching Calgary coach Bob Hartley's heavyweight-stuffed starting lineup.
Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa knew what was happening and what was about to occur, and took the opening face-off against Flames centre Kevin Westgarth, who was flanked by wingers Brian McGrattan and Blaire Jones.
Vancouver countered with forwards Kellan Lain, Dale Weise, and Tom Sestito. Bieksa and Jason Garrison – was who was also started on the blueline – received game misconducts, along with Lain and Weise.
Flames players Westgarth, Jones, Chris Butler and Ladislav Smid were also booted to the dressing room.
"It's easy for people to say put the Sedins out there and it's deflated," Tortorella said after the game. "I can't put our players at risk that way. With the lineup that (Hartley) had, I am not going to put those type of players at risk, and that's what ensues. I'm not proud of it. I have apologized to every one of the players involved in it. I don't feel great about it at all."
Tortorella was livid as the fight broke out and tickets were handed out, reaching over the boards to yell at Hartley and the Calgary bench. The Canucks coach was also caught by CBC's cameras getting into an argument that turned nearly physical with Calgary's coaching staff and players outside the Flames dressing room, during the first intermission.
During the inter-period scuffle, Flames coach Clint Malarchuk had to be held back by his players, while it appeared Chris Tanev was holding Alex Burrows back on Vancouver's side, as well.
"I lifted my head and there he was," Hartley said, describing the incident with Tortorella, who apparently came up Calgary's tunnel towards the Flames' dressing room (NHL.com). "I don't understand. I got out of there. I don't need to get suspended or fined. There is nothing to settle there. I just don't understand what was going on.
""Those guys are playing well for us," the Calgary coach said, on why he put his fourth liners on the ice for the game's opening face-off. "They got us a goal last game. We're not scoring many goals. We had zero intentions there. Those guys are playing hard for us. As far as I know, they were the home team. They had the luxury to put whoever they wanted on the ice. He decided who he puts on. It is what it is."
Saturday's first period ended with 188 penalty minutes dished out.
With each team's roster depleted, those left standing were forced to pick up the fallen's shifts, with five players skating for over half the game.
Calgary defenceman Dennis Wideman led all skaters with 38:05 time on ice. Flames d-man T.J. Brodie played 35:42 and Mark Giordano played 33:32.
Dan Hamhuis led all Canucks skaters with 36:12 of ice time and Chris Tanev played 33:02.
The Canucks also lost captain Henrik Sedin, who appeared to aggravate an injury that had made him a game-time decision entering Saturday night when he was cross-checked in front of the Calgary net.
Henrik didn't return for the third period or for overtime.