Hurricanes’ Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour Fined $25,000 For Postgame Comments

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Following the Bruins 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes today, the Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour made some fiery comments, to say the least. As a result, he got fined $25,000. The money will go to the NHL Foundation. In addition to this fine, he has been assessed a conditional $25,000 fine. If he makes any more “inappropriate” comments like he did today within the next year, that money will be collected, in addition to any other supplemental discipline that the league deems necessary.  This particular punishment is known informally as the “Torts special,” as current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella has gotten it countless times over his career. So, how did we get here?

The Play

During the second period of today’s game, Nick Ritchie batted the puck out of mid-air in front of the net. Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrazek then covered the puck briefly, but Anders Bjork was able to dig it out easily before the whistle blew, and the puck squirted out into open space. Coyle hopped right on it and buried it to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

The Challenge

It was apparent pretty much from the time the puck went in that Carolina was going to challenge the play for something. But, the question was, what were they going to challenge? Were they going to challenge for a hand pass? Or, were they going to challenge for goalie interference? 

In the end, Brind’Amour decided to challenge the play for a hand pass. After a lengthy review, the refs determined that while Ritchie did bat the puck out of the air, Mrazek had possession of it before it got to another Bruin, thus negating the hand pass. As a result, the call on the ice stood, so we had a good goal. Also, for losing the challenge, the Hurricanes were assessed a bench minor for delay of game, so they were sent to the PK (although they unfortunately scored shorthanded just 21 seconds into it).

Brind’Amour’s Comments

Suffice it to say that Brind’Amour was visibly upset when this decision was announced. He was no less angry following the game, and when asked about it, he let loose. Warning: The following tweets contain profanity.

In addition to those comments, Brind’Amour also told The News & Observer that “this is why the league’s a joke, in my opinion, on these things. That one is a crime scene.”

My Thoughts

The Play/Challenge

Starting with the play, I think they made the right call. Until the whistle blows, you’re allowed to go after the puck, even if it appears to be covered. So Bjork did nothing wrong by continuing to attack it. Plus, it came out easily, so he clearly didn’t have it by much. Now, should the whistle have been blown? Probably. They deemed Mrazek had possession, which is why the hand pass was waved off, but they didn’t blow the play did like they’re supposed to. But, he also didn’t have it for very long, so there wasn’t really time for the ref to react.

Even if Brind’Amour challenged for goalie interference, I think it would’ve stood. Poking the puck out from under the glove (before a whistle) really isn’t goalie interference, and none one really stopped Mrazek from making the save. He just wasn’t able to get over there in time.

For those of you who are confused and think it should’ve been wiped off anyway because they basically admitted the whistle should’ve been blown (and I believe that can be challenged under the new rules), you can only challenge for one thing. Even if there’s something else wrong with the play, if the specific thing that is being challenged is not an issue, then the call on the ice will stand. Is it a weird rule? Yeah. But it’s the rule, and teams know that. Brind’Amour chose to challenge for a hand pass, and since that was waived off, the call on the ice stood.

Brind’Amour’s Comments

As for Brind’Amour’s comments, I don’t blame him for being so upset. The fact that the refs refused to tell them their logic behind calling it a good goal is a terrible look. They’re supposed to give teams an explanation of these things, and they failed to do so. Instead, they just told him he had to pick one. That’s wrong. 

So, I wholeheartedly disagree with fining him $25,000 for the comments. But, according to the rules, that’s what happens. If a coach criticizes a ref like that, they’re going to get slapped with that fine. Is it right? I don’t think so. Coaches should be able to call the refs out in a respectful if they see it fit. Brind’Amour wasn’t respectful about it, but he still doesn’t deserve the massive fine he got. If they fined him less, I would’ve understood more. But, he had every right to be pissed because he didn’t get the explanation he was supposed to get, so even then, it would’ve been questionable. 

Final Thoughts

So, while I agree with the call on the ice, fining Brind’Amour as much as they did is absolutely insane. Players can only be fined up to $5,000 for a dirty/dangerous play, yet coaches can be fined five times that for simply criticizing a ref. It’s utterly ridiculous, and something that need to be addressed. Coaches should be able to call out refs (again, at least somewhat respectfully) if they see fit. At the very least, don’t fine them anywhere near that much (and while we’re changing fines, fine the players way more for dirty and/or dangerous plays).

-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)

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