John Tortorella, Sean Avery, Donald Brashear... do I really need to say more? Okay I'll add in Matt Cooke just for laughs.
Tortorella complained to reporters after his Rangers lost 8-3 to the defending Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night that Cooke intentionally hit Rangers forward Artem Anisimov in the head and that the linesman who got hit several times trying to seperate Cooke from Brashear shouldn't have been there in the first place.
“He leaves his feet, it’s an absolute head shot, the linesman jumps in when somebody else is trying to take care of business, that should have been left alone,” Tortorella said. “This is where our game is screwed up as far as I’m concerned. There is just no respect for these types of situations.”
Now Torts may be right, but expect a fine to come down from the league office since the coach shot his mouth off to the press.
And just a quick fact check for you Torts, whose team was hitting from behind all night? Cooke's hit came about two minutes after Sean Avery attempted to hit Sidney Crosby in the head from behind. Crosby upended Avery, but did you really expect the attempt to not be punished in what was a 5-3 game at the time?
And how about how Brashear's first punch, which landed in the back of Cooke's head before Brashear even dropped his gloves? I'm sure the league office will have flashbacks to the Bertuzzi-Moore conflict from a few years abo with that one.
And after Cooke had stepped up against fellow middleweight Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery took it upon himself to continue the rough stuff. Avery jumped on Ruslan Fedotenko from behind and started swinging. All Fedotenko could do was throw Avery to the ice.
I'm not writing this to defend Matt Cooke. He did leave his feet to make that hit, and I would not be surprised to see him receive extra discipline from the league. That being said, the league would be wrong to punish only Cooke for his role and ignore Avery, Brashear and Tortorella.
And another note about the Avery "fight" with Fedotenko, Avery had just left the bench. Ty Kennedy was suspended last season for instigating a fight after he left the bench on a legal line change. Avery apparantly did the exact same thing.
Torts, you're right about Cooke's hit, but quit acting like a crybaby. Your team sucked tonight and you know it. You're trying to do whatever you can to turn attention away from that fact.
UPDATE: NHL has suspended Matt Cooke two games for his hit on Anisimov. Nothing posted yet about Avery, Brashear or Torterella.