By John Rolfe
Chicanery is alive and well on the sidelines these days as Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets had their wallets lightened by $100,000 and $50,000 respectively–Tomlin for slyly interfering with Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones during a kick return; Kidd for purposely spilling a soda on the court in order to gain a timeout in the waning moments of a loss to the Lakers. Their despicable acts inspired Down Goes Brown blogger Sean McIndoe to offer up a few notorious examples of NHL coaches behaving badly. The most interesting was Jacques Demers of the St. Louis Blues, who copped to tossing pennies on the ice during a 1986 playoff game against Minnesota in order to give his players a breather. Demers, believe it or not, got off with only a warning from the league.
Other coaches have not been so lucky, as the NHL forced them to cough up some cake — though not nearly as much as Tomlin will surrender — usually for antics like running their mouths in an inappropriate manner or letting the rough stuff get out of hand. Here are 10 notable instances.
John Tortorella, New York Rangers
The fiery Torts has a history of throwing checks at the NHL. He was relieved of $30,000 for deeming the officiating in the 2012 Winter Classic “disgusting” and suggesting that the refs had been in cahoots with NBC in an effort to send the game into overtime. Three months later, he scribbled a one for $20,000 after impugning the character of the Penguins following a 5-2 loss. (Among his sentiments, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were “whining stars” who played for “one of the most arrogant organizations in the league.” In 2007, ripping the refs cost Tortorella $10,000, and in 2009, he was suspended for Game 6 of New York’s first round playoff series for squirting a Capitals fan with water and hitting another with the bottle after throwing it over the glass. For good measure, Torts also grabbed a stick, but was restrained by assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld, who was at the center of an infamous incident in 1988. (See below)
Glen Hanlon, Washington Capitals
A big, ugly full scale brawl with the Atlanta Thrashers soiled the final 1:22 of the Caps’ 4-2 loss on Nov. 22, 2006, resulted in the suspension of three players (including Washington enforcer Donald Brashear) and fines for both coaches. While Atlanta’s Bob Hartley had to fork over $10,000 (pretty much the norm in such instances), Hanlon got carried away by the spirit of the thing and tried to force his way into the Thrashers’ dressing room, ending up with a $30,000 tab the league claimed was a then-record levy against a bench boss for a single incident.
Roger Neilson, Philadelphia Flyers
The coach who so famously waved a white flag at officials while coaching the Canucks in 1982 (the gesture cost him $1,000), had $25,000 deleted from his pocket after offering up the opinion that a call by ref Terry Gregson in Game 6 of Philadelphia’s first-round playoff series vs. Toronto was “unbelievable.” Neilson had a reason to be steamed as the ensuing power play led to the game’s only goal and an early summer for the Flyers. Owner Ed Snider felt compelled to second Neilson’s emotion and was slapped with a $50,000 surcharge by the league.
Tom Webster, Los Angeles Kings
A bit of a hothead, Webster threw a stick that struck referee Kerry Fraser during a Nov. 16, 1991 game vs Detroit, and got himself docked $10,000, which he was left to contemplate during his 12-game suspension. The previous season, Webster had earned three ejections — one for tossing the lumber, another for verbally berating an official, and most infamously, swapping punches with Calgary’s Doug Gilmour during an altercation on March 23 that resulted in a four-game vacation and $5,000 fine.
Robbie Ftorek, New Jersey Devils
A bench toss from the bench boss during a January 2000 game against the Red Wings brought Ftorek a one-game suspension and a $10,000 tab. It seems coach Ftorek did not take kindly to referee Stephen Walkom’s failure to call a penalty on Detroit’s Mathieu Dandenault for a check that left New Jersey’s Jay Pandolfo in need of 84 stitches.
Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche
Colorado’s temperamental new bench boss got the 2013-14 season off to a rousing start by engaging in a verbal and glass partition-pushing tiff with his Anaheim counterpart Bruce Boudreau on opening night. Roy blamed Boudreau for a knee-on-knee hit by the Ducks’ Ben Lovejoy on Avs rookie star Nathan MacKinnon and ended up paying $10,000 for the privilege of engaging in his frank exchange of views. Roy’s antics brought to mind…
Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia Flyers
A climb onto the bench exacted a $10,00 toll on the Flyers’ coach, who had taken exception to Pittsburgh’s Dan Byslma sending out his roughnecks against a Philly line that including the Smurf-like Daniel Briere. The Penguins were in a 6-3 hole, and the 2011-12 regular season finale had basically been decided. When Joe Vitale flattened Briere, he got a rise out of Laviolette, who was met at the glass by Pittsburgh assistant coach Tony Granato. Fights broke out and there was a whole lotta yellin’ goin’ on between the coaches before the dust settled and Laviolette was left to reach for his wallet.
Guy Lapointe and Kevin Constantine, Calgary Flames
The two assistant coaches were banned — Lapointe for two games; Constantine for one — for rudely addressing an Oilers fan who had poured a drink on Lapointe’s head during Nov. 23, 1996 tilt in Edmonton. Their set-to also visited some monetary misery on the Oilers, who were fined $20,000 by the league for “an inadequate security response to fan abuse in the area of the players’ bench during the game.”
John Muckler, Buffalo Sabres
A loss on home ice to the Tampa Bay Lightning had Muckler mucking it up with a heckler on March 19, 1995. The resulting slap to the fan’s kisser cost the Sabres coach/GM $10,000 and left him cooling his heels for three games. Turns out the fan in question was an assistant district attorney for Erie County.
Jim Schoenfeld, New Jersey Devils
In probably the most notorious case of a Devils coach boiling over, Schoenfeld’s confrontation with Don Koharski and suggestion that the referee “Have another donut, you fat pig!” was worth a one-game suspension and a $1,000 withdrawal from Schoenfeld’s piggy bank. The Devils were also required to relinquish $10,000. Schoenfeld wasn’t exactly in a mellow state of mind after his team’s 6-1 loss to Boston in the Wales Conference Finals.