Rangers coach John Tortorella was suspended for a game for throwing water on a fan, etc. in the Friday night game in Washington. Here is what the league had to say in its release:
NHL SUSPENDS NY RANGERS’ TORTORELLA FOR ONE GAME
NEW YORK (Apr. 25, 2009) – The National Hockey League announced today
that New York Rangers coach John Tortorella has been suspended for one game
for squirting a fan with water and throwing a water bottle that struck a
fan during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Series with the
Washington Capitals Apr. 24 in Washington.
The incident occurred 6:33 into the third period.
“While it is a difficult decision to suspend a coach at this point in
a Playoff Series, it has been made clear to all of our Players, Coaches and
other bench personnel that the National Hockey League cannot—and will not –
tolerate any physical contact with fans,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice
President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “We do not take
this action lightly. It is the result of an entire day of investigation and
evaluation that included the retrieval and review of videotape of the
incident and discussions with Mr. Tortorella, other Rangers’ bench
personnel and a number of other people, including the security personnel at
the Verizon Center.
“That investigation revealed that Mr. Tortorella squirted a fan with
water before Mr. Tortorella was doused with a beverage.
“While, in these circumstances, it always is easy to allege
mitigating circumstances, the fact is we do not tolerate contact with our
fans in this manner. That is communicated before each season in a memo that
is issued by the League to all of the management, coaches and players of
“The Sept. 8, 2008, memo entitled, ‘SUPPLEMENTARY DISCIPLINE
REMINDERS FOR THE 2008-09 SEASON,’ included the following section regarding
Contact With Fans:
Even where a fan is verbally abusive, intoxicated, or profane,
Club personnel should either ignore the conduct or, where appropriate,
seek the assistance of police or security personnel at the arena.
This prohibition extends to all forms of physical contact,
whether it be direct physical contact, the throwing of objects (including hockey sticks
and other equipment), or even the squirting of water. While the latter form of
conduct may have, in the past, seemed to be of a minor or harmless character,
such conduct may serve only to incite and provoke an unruly fan and may ultimately
lead to unforeseen consequences.
Accordingly, please be on notice that all Club personnel
(management, coaches, trainers, and/or players) who engage in any
form of physical contact with fans, including the squirting of water,
will, on a going forward basis, be subject to discipline in the form
of a suspension. The Club involved will also be subject to a fine.
The suspension was issued pursuant to the Commissioner’s authority
under Section 6.3(j)(1)(a) of the NHL Constitution. Tortorella will miss
the Rangers’ next game – tomorrow afternoon vs. Washington.
EVENING UPDATE, 10:35 P.M.: With the Rangers’ minor-league team eliminated from the playoffs tonight, it is assumed that one or two of the members of the Wolf Pack coaching staff (Ken Gernander is the head coach at Hartford) will join Jim Schoenfeld on the bench for Game 6.
Here is the Rangers’ official reaction:
STATEMENT REGARDING JOHN TORTORELLA SUSPENSION
New York, April 25, 2009 – The New York Rangers have issued the following statement in response to Head Coach John Tortorella’s one game suspension:
“We disagree with the suspension and will have no further comment.”