Coaching in the National Hockey League can be an intense and emotionally charged job. From making strategic decisions on the fly to motivating players to perform at their best, NHL coaches are under constant pressure to perform. Sometimes, that pressure boils over into heated altercations between coaches themselves. These incidents have become a part of NHL lore, and are remembered by fans as examples of the intense passion and rivalry that characterize the league.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the top 5 NHL coaching altercations in history. From shouting matches between coaches to physical altercations on the ice, these incidents have become some of the most memorable moments in the league’s history. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just curious about the game, these altercations offer a fascinating glimpse into the intense world of professional hockey coaching.
John Tortorella vs. Calgary Flames
The Tortorella Canucks Flames fight occurred on. John Tortorella, who was the head coach of the Canucks at the time, was incensed by Flames coach Bob Hartley’s decision to start his tough guy lineup, which included several enforcers who were known for their physical play. Tortorella took exception to this move and immediately sent out his own tough players to start the game.
Less than two minutes into the game, a brawl erupted on the ice, with all 10 skaters involved in the altercation. Tortorella also attempted to confront Hartley in the Flames’ locker room during the first intermission, but was restrained by team officials. The incident resulted in Tortorella being suspended for 15 days without pay and missing six games, while Hartley was fined $25,000. The Canucks ultimately lost the game 3-2.
Dan Bylsma vs. Peter Laviolette
The Bylsma-Laviolette altercation occurred between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The game was particularly intense as both teams were fighting for a playoff spot, and tensions had been building up throughout the game. With just over a minute left in the game, a brawl broke out on the ice between the two teams.
As the players were being separated by officials, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette began yelling at each other from their respective benches. The situation quickly escalated as Laviolette left his bench and attempted to confront Bylsma. The two coaches had to be restrained by officials and were eventually ejected from the game.
Patrick Roy vs. Bruce Boudreau
Patrick Roy, who was the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche at the time, was fined $10,000 by the NHL for his actions during a game against the Anaheim Ducks on October 2, 2013. In the game’s final minutes, a brawl broke out on the ice between the two teams, which resulted in multiple players being assessed penalties and several ejections.
During the altercation, Roy was seen shouting and gesticulating towards the Ducks’ bench, apparently in response to comments made by Ducks players and coaches. The NHL deemed this behavior to be inappropriate and a violation of league rules, and subsequently fined Roy $10,000.
Marc Crawford vs. Scotty Bowman
On May 22, during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at Joe Louis Arena, tensions boiled over between the teams, resulting in a free-for-all on the ice. The game was penalty-filled and marked by a heated exchange between Colorado Avalanche coach Marc Crawford and Detroit Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman. Crawford was seen shouting obscenities at Bowman from across the glass that separated the two benches. In response, Bowman made a cutting remark, saying “I knew your father before you did, and I don’t think he’d be very proud of how you’re acting.”
Despite Crawford’s outburst, the Red Wings went on to win the game 6-0, and ultimately took the series in six games before capturing the Stanley Cup. However, Crawford was not let off the hook for his behavior, as he was fined $10,000 for his tirade against Bowman. The incident remains a notable moment in the history of the NHL, reminding fans of the intense rivalries and emotions that can run high in professional sports.
Lindy Ruff vs. Bryan Murray
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff became incensed after a hit by Senators forward Chris Neil on Sabres captain Chris Drury, which Ruff believed to be a dirty hit.
In response, Ruff began shouting and gesturing at the Senators bench, apparently in an attempt to confront Neil and his teammates. This led to a brief scuffle between players on both teams, and Ruff was ejected from the game.
After the game, Ruff expressed his frustration with Neil’s hit, calling it a “gutless” play and criticizing the NHL for not taking a stronger stance against such hits.