Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has been fined $20,000 for harshly criticizing an officiating crew after a game last week. The NHL announced the punishment on Wednesday, adding that Tortorella also faces a "conditional fine" of $25,000 if he conducts himself in a similar manner over the next calendar year.
The punishment comes after Tortorella ripped the late-game clock management by officials during overtime of the Blue Jackets' contest against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
With about 19 seconds remaining in the extra frame, Chicago was penalized for too many men on the ice to give Columbus a brief opportunity on the power play to close out OT. But that brief man advantage was even briefer than it should have been due to a clock error after play was whistled dead. An extra second ran off the game clock and the officiating crew declined to fix it even after protest from the Columbus bench. This came back to haunt the Jackets, who managed to put a would-be game-winner in the back of the net just after the OT period expired.
Had the clock situation been properly handled, the goal likely would have counted and Columbus would have won the game. Instead, it went to a shootout and they lost. Making matters worse, Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo got injured in the shootout and was later ruled out for 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his meniscus.
After the game, Tortorella delivered a fiery rant during his postgame press conference, calling the officiating "ridiculous" before declining to take questions and storming out.
NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell released a statement in the aftermath According to the league, the on-ice officials checked with the clock operators in Columbus before denying the bench's appeal to put more time on the clock, and the league office in Toronto didn't deem it necessary to get involved.
Tortorella later apologized for the rant, saying he should have addressed the issue in private instead of airing his grievances in front of the media. It's certainly not the first time that Tortorella has let his frustrations get the better of him, nor is it the first time that it has taken a hit on his wallet.
Tortorella was suspended for 15 days after a 2014 incident in which he tried to forcefully enter the Calgary Flames locker room while serving as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.