Flyers coach John Tortorella suspended 2 games, fined for ‘unprofessional conduct’ toward officials

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The NHL suspended Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella for two games and fined him $50,000 for “unprofessional conduct directed at the officials by refusing to leave the bench area” after Tortorella was assessed a game misconduct during Saturday’s 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the league announced Sunday.

Tortorella was ejected from the game after appearing to be upset with a tripping call on defenseman Ronnie Attard at 9:24 that led to a Brayden Point power-play goal, which was followed by a 10-minute misconduct on forward Garnet Hathaway at 10:02.

Tortorella was tossed from the game at 10:49 of the first period after the Point goal made it 4-0 Lightning.

Tortorella at first refused to leave the bench as ordered by referee Wes McCauley, continuing to scream in the direction of McCauley and referee Brandon Schrader, who called the penalty on Attard. Eventually, though, the Flyers’ coach made his way up the tunnel to the visitor’s dressing room.

Assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Rocky Thompson took over the bench after Tortorella’s ejection. Tortorella — who was honored Saturday as part of the 20th anniversary of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship — did not speak with reporters after the game.

Shaw offered his assessment of what happened, and why Tortorella was so perturbed.

“I think (Tortorella) was just trying to make a point that we felt like we might not been getting our fair shake,” he said. “It’s an emotional game at times. We all get elevated blood pressure so I think it’s just part of the game.”

Regarding the tripping call on Attard drawn by the Lightning’s Michael Eyssimont that seemed to initiate the sequence, Shaw said: “Just looked like two guys skating, hustling for a puck and their skates get together and one guy fell down and one didn’t. I wasn’t very excited about it myself.”

The NHL recently disciplined a pair of NHL head coaches for arguing with officials, as Buffalo’s Don Granato and Toronto’s Sheldon Keefe were issued $25,000 fines on Feb. 29. Anaheim’s Greg Cronin was fined the same amount in October.

Tortorella will miss Philadelphia’s games against the San Jose Sharks (March 12) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (March 14). His fine money will go to the NHL Foundation.

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(Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)

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