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NHL: McGrattan’s post-fight salute penalty byproduct of ‘Asham incident’

Mar 5, 2013, 1:19 PM EDT

A strange thing happened to Brian McGrattan on the way to the penalty box Sunday night — a simple gesture earned him another penalty.

That was the scene in Calgary during the Flames’ 4-2 win over Vancouver. Midway through the second period, McGrattan got into a scrap with Canucks forward Tom Sestito, which McGrattan punctuated with his version of the Jagr salute:

That gesture got McGrattan tagged with an extra 10-minute misconduct (on top of his five-minute fighting major), which led to the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis doing some digging:

The NHL’s Director of Officiating, Terry Gregson, said Monday the misconduct isn’t part of a new NFL-type rule aimed at curbing taunting. It was simply a judgment call by the officials, who were worried the showboating could escalate things later in the night.

After all, it certainly riled up the fans.

“I spoke with both officials, and they felt (it was just) because it was a gesture following a fight and the emotional state of things (was high),” Gregson told the Sun in an e-mail.

“They related back to the Asham incident of a year ago. The actions were different but they felt following a fight that type of thing adds fuel to the fire.”

The ‘Asham incident’ was the Oct. 2011 fight between then-Penguins forward Aaron Asham and Washington’s Jay Beagle, which went like this:

Asham was apologetic after the incident, saying he didn’t realize the damage he’d inflicted on Beagle upon doing his routine. Asham wasn’t given a misconduct and received no supplementary discipline from the NHL.

As for McGrattan, he said his salute was simply “an adrenalin thing” — an act that drew approval from his head coach, Bob Hartley.

“I loved the salute,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald. “He makes us feel good. He makes us feel bigger. I’m sure the other team are sitting on their bench not as comfortable, that’s for sure.”

  1. tyler4richardson - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I like the salute. Big difference between being awesome and taunting.

  2. bucrightoff - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    The “I’m a goon” salute as its better known.

  3. nunan - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Thus begins the over-reaction to gestures after goals and fights.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      if you’re good enough, you don’t need to showboat after scoring goals. a simple celebration, ok. but I swear if I see a player pull a hidden cell phone out of his goalie’s pads after he scores a goal, i’ll flip.

      i stopped watching football in the preseason last year when i saw a guy front flip into the endzone…. IN PRESEASON. I have no place for that kind of selfishness in what I watch on TV.

      BUT, i have no issues with this salute. simple enough, took less than a second and was effective.

      moving on.

      • nunan - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        I don’t think hockey will ever get to that point where people are going over the top. My point though is simply that the league is over-reacting to everything now. The refs are an ‘outlet’ for some of that over-reaction so I can completely see this becoming something they penalize now, even for small hand gestures.

  4. sheckyrimshot - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    it’s not like he threw his elbow pad into the crowd, skated from blue line to blue line, and dropped a peoples elbow on him…

  5. davebabychreturns - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Yeah I didn’t see much wrong with that. That’s meant for the crowd moreso than a taunt at the loser of the fight.

    By the way I called this in a previous comments section on here (not the salute), two new tough guys trying to prove their value to their team.

    Kudos to Sestito for going with a vastly better fighter, McGrattan’s not going to do too much for the Flames on the ice but other than maybe John Scott (and Zdeno Chara?) there aren’t many tougher customers in this league.

  6. jaybird22seven - Mar 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Lets take all the fun out of hockey !!!
    Give me a break.

  7. sjsharks66 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Yay! Soon it will be like football. No celebrating. First the non-stop talk about Nails celebration, now this?

    Calm down NHL.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      is that really why you watch sports? celebrations?

  8. ethanmacleod1685 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Don’t agree with the salute but he shouldn’t have got penalised for it. It should just be frowned upon and leave it at that!

  9. jpelle82 - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    who cares if a goon gets 10 minutes on top of the normal 5. its not like they miss them that much on the ice and you’re not shorthanded. no big deal, if he was getting fined or suspended then that would be different

  10. stakex - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    People watch sports for one reason….. entertainment. The crowd obviously thought the salute was entertaining, and it wasn’t a taunt (what Asham did last year was a taunt) so I fail to see the issue with it.

    Now I can see the argument against over the top celebrations, but a simple salute isn’t an over the top celebration. You want to see emotion from players, otherwise it will be just a bunch of robots out there… and no one will want to watch that.

  11. thedavesiknowiknow - Mar 5, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    The NHL is all like: ” Hey our game is perfect. Everybody understands it now. People like it. Lets make a another stupid penalty.”

    And the casual fan is like “See you later, dude.”

  12. wingsdjy - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    That was nothing.

    Now this is a post-penalty salute:

    • thedavesiknowiknow - Mar 5, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Freakin’ solid dude!

  13. csilojohnson - Mar 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    That Asham fight is probably one of my favorites. He dropped Beagle. Gestures were very fitting. Sure a little distasteful. We are watching two guys bash each others faces in though. These guys are competitors. What do you expect. As long as there not taking cheap shots I say let them celebrate a KO in a slightly taunting manor.
    Makes for better entertainment.

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