We all know professional hockey coaches and managers are serious men who take their jobs seriously. They work very hard to get where they are and have to work extra hard to stay there. So when the officials make a bad call that could cost them their jobs, a player makes a stupid mistake, or a fan does something that’s just downright obnoxious, sometimes coaches take that just a little bit too seriously, too.
Then, they explode.
Fans who have followed the Caps for the last dozen years know all about George McPhee’s fight with Chicago Blackhawks coach Lorne Molleken in the hallway after a preseason game. We also all remember the John Tortorella Water Bottle Incident from just two years ago. The irony in all of that was Rangers assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld covered for Torts in that game, and Schoenfeld had the most famous implosion of them all. In the 1988 Wales Conference Final, Schoenfeld knocked over referee Don Koharski and told him “you fat pig. Have another doughnut.” What makes it even funnier is that McPhee was playing for the Devils at the time.
And how could anyone forget the time Craig MacTavish (then coach of the Edmonton Oilers) ripped Harvey the Hound’s tongue out of this mouth, after the Calgary Mascot taunted him during a game. While the incident proved to be nothing more than hilarious, it very well could have escalated if Calgary fans had taken the act as a slight. Oh yeah, MacTavish won the Cup with the Rangers, too, and was an assistant there for two years (1997-99), right before Tortorella replaced him behind the bench. And, per his Wikipedia page:
“On November 4, 2006, one day after the Oilers lost to the Dallas Stars due to an apparent blown call in the last five seconds of the third period by referee Mick McGeough, MacTavish was fined $10,000 for expressing his anger after the game, referring to the call as “retarded”. After this incident, Oilers fans collected over $10,000 and gave it to MacTavish, who subsequently donated the money to charity.”
The last time the Rangers and Caps faced off during the playoffs, Sean Avery famously (now that it’s documented in Bruce’s autobiography) called Bruce “the biggest, fattest [bleeping] pig he had ever seen.” While Bruce was shocked by the comment, it’s not like he tried to get onto the ice to get Avery. Most NHL coaches are thick-skinned. Others reach their boiling points quite easily.
I’m sure it’s coincidence that all of this is Six Degrees of the New York Rangers…
With Boudreau taking a jab at Madison Square Garden’s age and condition of its locker rooms, there is plenty of gas to fuel a constant steam of hecklers from the MSG seats behind the Caps’ bench. So, we were wondering, with the dramatis personae in this series, what could go wrong next? A distinct possibility is for someone to erupt at Sean Avery, who has had a few implosions of his own. Bruce Boudreau recorded his Avery playoff episode in his book, but what if Avery got sloppy with his play? Would Tortorella stomp on Avery’s designer glasses? Would he or Avery wave the glasses in front of the ref after a bad call? What are the chances of another Boudreau f-bomb tirade OUTSIDE the locker room?
Game 4 is tonight. Set your DVRs.