WAR OF WORDS
Tortorella calls Flames' Hartley 'embarrassing' after Sedin incident
Canucks coach John Tortorella and Flames coach Bob Hartley still don't like each other. (REUTERS)
The Vancouver Canucks won what might have been John Tortorella's last game as their coach Sunday night - but he was in no mood to celebrate.
Left winger Daniel Sedin scored a pair of goals in just under two periods of work as the Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 in the final game of the 2013-14 NHL season for both clubs.
But in keeping with a crazy Canucks season, Sedin scored his goals before he was taken off the ice on a stretcher late in the second period after being sent head-first into the boards by Calgary center Paul Byron, who hit him from behind and received a boarding major and game misconduct. Despite leaving early, Sedin was named the game's first star.
The Canucks, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, finished with a 36-35-11 record in a tumultuous season under beleaguered coach Tortorella, who endured a six-game suspension for storming Calgary's dressing room in a brawl-marred game in January, numerous injuries, a lack of offense, inconsistent play and long losing stretches after a relatively good start. He is expected to be fired following only one campaign in Vancouver.
"This game means nothing," said Tortorella. "We're done."
But Tortorella, who has tried to hold his tongue for most of the season, had some harsh words for Flames coach Bob Hartley in wake of Daniel Sedin's injury.
"You tuck your tail between your legs and you leave - it's been a rough year," said Tortorella. "It's been a rough year. But it's embarrassing to coach against (Hartley), some of the things that went on when Danny (was) hurt. It's embarrassing. But I probably have no right to say anything considering the year that I've had."
Tortorella also called Hartley's decision to send tough guys Kevin Westgarth and Brian McGrattan out for the opening face-off, as he did prior to the game-opening brawl in January, "bush league."
Daniel Sedin was taken to Vancouver General Hospital. The Canucks announced during the third period that he went there to get scans done and was able to move his fingers and feet. Tortorella said after the game that the team received "good reports" and Daniel Sedin was not as seriously injured as first feared.
"I'm glad he's OK," said Tortorella. "When I saw him first go down, it scared me a little bit."
Defenseman Frankie Corrado, with his first NHL career goal, fellow rearguard Yannick Weber and center Ryan Kesler also tallied for the Canucks. Sedin's production doubled the output in his previous 31 games, when he managed only one goal.
Center Henrik Sedin assisted on both of his brother's markers.
"Both (Daniel) and Henrik, they had it going," said Tortorella.
The rebuilding Flames, long since eliminated from the playoffs, recorded a 35-40-7 mark to fall one win and six points shy of the veteran-laden Canucks.
Hartley said his club had a tough night.
"They got some early goals," he said. "It seemed like when it started it would be their night. They did deserve (the win.) They were the better team from the start to the end. They deserved the win."
Hartley lamented the hit that led to Daniel Sedin's departure, but also played down the significance of Byron's check.
"We all feel it was a hockey play that you see maybe 10 or 15 times a game," said Hartley.
Left winger Johnny Gaudreau, with his first NHL goal in his inaugural professional game, replied for the Flames, who were outshot 23-22.
Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom picked up his first win as a Canuck since he was acquired from the Florida Panthers in the Roberto Luongo trade. Markstrom stopped 21 of 22 shots in his third straight start. Calgary starting netminder Karri Ramo was tagged with the loss as he allowed four goals on 20 shots. Flames backup goaltender Joey MacDonald recorded two saves on just three shots.
The Canucks, who led 2-0 after the first period and secured the final 5-1 count by the end of the second, scored on two of four power plays, including one during Byron's major, while the Flames were blanked on one.
Daniel Sedin scored all of the goals that the Canucks needed as he netted their first two goals in the first period. He got credit for Vancouver's first goal, 7:16 into the game, as David Booth's shot, which occurred while he was falling backward, appeared to hit him before it went in.
The Sedin twins combined to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead just under seven minutes later as Daniel fired in Henrik's rebound during a power play. It was Vancouver's first man-advantage goal in four games.
Byron, who left to a chorus of boos following a brief melee, downplayed his hit on Daniel Sedin, stressing that he was not out to injure the Canuck.
"I just saw the puck in the corner," said Byron. "I was trying to finish my check. I saw the replay again. I didn't think it was a dirty hit."
The incident cut short an impressive display of "Sedinery" in which the twins displayed some of their skating and passing magic. Henrik Sedin was encouraged by the way he and his brother played at the end of a difficult season. But like Tortorella, the Canucks captain was not in a celebratory mood, believing his team is better than it showed.
"It's unfortunate it's come to this and here we are out of the playoffs," said Henrik Sedin.