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Why fining John Tortorella helps no one and Corey Perry’s walk of shame

So Green Day, a pair of clown shoes, and the penalty song from the World juniors walk out of a football stadium...

2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 1: Corey Perry #10 of the Dallas Stars walks back to the locker room after drawing a five-minute major during the 2020 NHL Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars at The Cotton Bowl on January 1, 2020 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Tim Heitman/NHLI via Getty Images

Three days after calling out mistakes made by officials in the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 SO loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, John Tortorella has been fined $20,000 by the NHL. On top of that, he has been given an additional fine of $25,000 if he makes “similar inappropriate” comments again.

Colin Campbell, the NHL’s Director of Player Operations, has been at the center of all this aftermath. First, he released the following statement that reads like an eighth grader trying to hit the word count on their essay. Then, we became aware through the media that he will be lobbying Commissioner Gary Bettman to implement a fine on Tortorella for his comments.

My take this is that it all looks very childish from Campbell and the league. Fining Tortorella was not off the standard at all, lots of coaches have been fined in the past. What did it for me was the Director of Hockey Ops seemingly taking it so personally. The statement he wrote carried incorrect grammar and read very unprofessionally. Then to go lobby the commissioner at the Winter Classic? And then to spend three days on a decision? That’s a lot.

Another thing I don’t like about this is the league’s insistence that they were in the right, despite the evidence against it. You can read in my first Lightning Round on the matter that I think the league and officials should have to talk to the media after games and release detailed explanations (and even recordings) on controversial calls after the games. Other North American leagues, namely the NBA, do this. Why not the NHL?

This past decade — heck two decades dating back to the toe in the crease — have been awful for officiating. No one knows the rules anymore and everything is so subjective and left in the referee’s “judgement” that there is no consistency. When the NHL implemented video review, they dipped their toe in the water of getting the calls right. They tried to band-aid a solution (offsides) by looking at the symptoms rather than the causes.

I bet if you polled North American sports fans and gave them a driver’s test-type quiz, hockey fans would know the least about the rules of the game and we would probably all fail. We do not know the rules of our game because the league does not share the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Nothing is consistent.

Dear NHL,
Admit your flaws, take it on the chin, and make your game easier to understand because all the color is gone from my hair and my forehead is starting to look like a young Ryan Getzlaf.

Lightning Links

  • 2:44 into the game, Corey Perry brained Ryan Ellis with an elbow and was immediately ejected (see that, Colin?). Since the game was in the middle of a football stadium, Perry had to take a long walk from the rink to the dressing rooms. The NBCSN broadcast stayed on Perry the whole way and Twitter had lots of fun throwing some music over top of “the Corey Perry walk of shame.”