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‘Look at the person who is doing it’: Tortorella takes aim at Konopka following Stanton hit

Dec 18, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT

John Tortorella, Steve Kozari, Vaughan Rody AP

John Tortorella was none too pleased about the hit that knocked Vancouver defenseman Ryan Stanton out of Tuesday’s game versus Minnesota.

And he was equally displeased with the guy that threw the hit — Wild forward Zenon Konopka.

“It shouldn’t have been a minor,” Tortorella said of Konopka’s two-minute tripping penalty, as per the Vancouver Sun. “That’s what I thought. We are trying to get that play out of the game and look at the person who is doing it.

“I just thought it should have been more than a minor.”

Konopka, 32, has a reputation as a tough, hard-nosed checking forward that’s not afraid to fight — and he has had brushes with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. He was fined $2,500 for verbally abusing Brian Boyle during pregame warmups in the Rangers-Senators playoff series of ’12 but, it must be noted, has never been suspended during his eight-year, 320-game NHL career.

As for Stanton, he returned briefly after crashing hard into the boards feet-first on the Konopka hit (his ankle looked to have turned awkwardly.) Stanton played just one more shift before shutting it down for the night, re-emerging postgame in a walking boot.

“I don’t know what it is,” Tortorella said of Stanton’s injury. “He is going to get evaluated.”

UPDATE: If you want to see the trip, click here and FF to the :35 mark. Thanks to PHT commenter kgod30 for finding the link.

UPDATE 2: Stanton has been sent back to Vancouver for evaluation, meaning he’s out for the remainder of the trip (at Dallas on Thursday, at Chicago on Friday.) It’s likely that Andrew Alberts will draw back into the lineup.

  1. kgod30 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Konopka did not trip Stanton…if anything he tried to hold him up. Watch the video:

    • purpleguy - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      What I thought when I watched the game, and confirmed by your video. Knopka isn’t a dirty player, just a fighter. He nonetheless got the minor for simply being Knopka.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Thanks, pretty compelling. Wild have played pretty clean hockey this year, which I appreciate. When i saw the article without a vid clip, I figured Torts most be referring to a slew foot, with is somehow classified as “tripping” while FAR more likely to cause injury than other forms. I actually looked for a vid and gave up after a couple minutes.

    • imleftcoast - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Konopka pulls him off balance. I’d agree with wrong place, wrong time. If he does that at center ice, it’s not a dangerous play, but three feet from the boards it is.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      During the game (at least on the Vancouver feed) they showed a better angle from behind and prior to the fall where Konopka pulls Stanton off balance as he’s trying to stop coming into the boards. That’s as bad as hitting a guy from behind in that situation – which also puts a player off balance and would have likely been a 5 minute boarding call – since it increases the risk of injury.

      I see Torts’ point, but I’m not sure it was so bad to warrant much more. A borderline call for sure on if it’s worth just two or not, but certainly not clear cut it should be 5+.

  2. clarke16 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    I was at the game and it happened right in front of me. It wasn’t a trip. It wasn’t a hold. It wasn’t a penalty. Stanton got to the loose puck in the corner just before Konopka and appeared to catch an edge. Konopka made contact with him as he was going down–but he was already going down all on his own. The ref threw up his arm and Konopka just stood there in disbelief…

    The loudest the crowd got all night in the X was an extended booing of the ref when the play showed up on the jumbotron.

    Torts is what he is–and everyone can plainly see what that is. He’d never be my coach.

    • kyegrace - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      You are right, seems to be a play that just went south for Stanton without any help from anyone else. Konopka was in the wrong place at the wrong time and took the blame.

      However I am confused…

      “He’d never be my coach.”

      So you’d quit playing pro hockey? Or just take a sabbatical until your team changed coaches? Or maybe you’d be powerful enough to be a coach killer and management would never hire him based on your take?

      Last time I checked players don’t pick their coaches.

      • elvispocomo - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Neither do fans.

      • clarke16 - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        Yes–you do appear confused. Not as a player, but as a GM/Owner, I’d never select a Tortorella to be my coach. Why? It’s obvious.

      • kyegrace - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        Fair point Clarke16. As Torts was defending a player I took the perspective you wouldn’t choose him as a coach if you were a player.

        I WAS confused! And you unconfused me!

        I can respect that as you as a GM or owner would not hire Torts.

        Keep me posted on your hunt for a GM job! If your buying a team put me in the running for GM. We’d make magic together!

  3. blackandorangeforlife - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    From that video i dont even see a penalty…..Any better video with better angles?

    • clarke16 - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      There was no penalty…period. Everybody in the arena could see that…and that’s what makes Torts scum–he saw it, too. No integrity there.

  4. tlow97 - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Torts needs to watch the replay and have an open mind. All for a coach advocating for his guy but I think it was lucky that a penalty was even called.

  5. 7mantel - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I for one miss Torts and his post game interviews here in NY!

  6. micasa81 - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Didn’t get to see the play as it happened. The Sportsnet clip is better than nothing, but it’s still impossible to tell how it went down without seeing the 2 seconds prior. It certainly looks like it could have been completely clean.

    I hope Stanton’s not out long. I didn’t think he was very impressive his first few games this year, but he’s come along by leaps and bounds.

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