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Old time hockey

Whoever can lean further over the bench, wins.
Whoever can lean further over the bench, wins.

Canucks Vs. Flames drama sparks hockey fans

Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer

We need more nights in hockey like Jan. 19 at the Rogers Centre in Vancouver.

Since the “New NHL” came into effect post-lockout, we have become accustomed to watching boring, dull, and senseless NHL hockey. When the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks met on the night of the 19th, we saw a different brand of hockey that fans love.

It was madness as the game began, 188 penalty minutes in the first period alone headlined by an opening faceoff line brawl.

The biggest story coming out of the game was Canucks infamous head coach John Tortorella absolutely losing his mind in the tunnel on the Flames, reportedly trying to get at Flames head coach Bob Hartley.

Tortorella was sub sequentially given a 15-day suspension from the NHL, including six games.

Watching this game, you could feel the rivalry that these two teams share. It was so nice to see something different, something with substance compared to the empty style of play we fans have become accustomed to watching night after night.

Since the lockout in 2004-05, it has seemed as if hockey has become a sport where physicality has become somewhat frowned upon. You don’t see the physicality; you see the flash that some fans love, but definitely not the majority.

The NHL is obviously its own brand of hockey, yet at times it seems senseless to long-time fans of the game. Everyone loves playoff hockey because every game matters and the players definitely play like it. In junior hockey, you see players playing like every shift could be their last, which is why hockey fans love the World Juniors.

The brawl did, however, spark controversy all over the Twitterverse due to fans either complaining or marvelling over the game in which the Canucks topped the Flames in a shootout 3-2. With all of the speculation earlier in the season about possibly taking fighting right out of the game we all know and love, this was an interesting sample of hockey to watch.

The first shift seemed like a scene from the classic hockey movie Slap Shot. And, honestly, who wouldn’t want this when these two bitter rivals face off?

It’s what hockey fans love and what we all crave. Before the game even began, the players knew that something of this magnitude would arise, simply by looking at the opening lineups. When Flames centre Keith Westgarth lines up for a face off against Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, obviously something is about to happen.

Even though the general census of the fans loved the fighting, the intensity that Tortorella showed was unacceptable. Charging the Flames’ dressing room is something an NHL coach has no right to do at any point in time. Tortorella could have been put at fault if he decided to start other players on his side, yet if these players were so tough on the other side of centre ice why wasn’t Canucks tough guy Zack Kassian on the ice lining up against them?

Both teams can be put at fault for these actions in this game, yet it was refreshing to watch an NHL game that felt like it meant something. With the tempers flaring it was really unpredictable watching the rest of that game.

The NHL should learn that fighting will put people in the stands and more games like the Canucks versus Flames Saturday night tilt gives a new level of excitement that the NHL has been missing for years.

Figure it out, Bettman.

Image: o.canada.com

About Brady Lang

Former benchwarmer and full time sports junkie with a passion for broadcast journalism. I’ll talk sports with anyone, even if you’re a Yankees fan!