Flyers coach John Tortorella reluctantly leaves bench after being tossed in game against Lightning

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella, left, yells at referee Brad Meier (34) after being kicked out the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella, left, yells at referee Brad Meier (34) after being kicked out the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Philadelphia coach John Tortorella reluctantly left the bench Saturday night after receiving a game misconduct and bench minor early in the Flyers’ 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On a night that the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Lightning team that Tortorella coached was honored, he lasted just 10:49 into the game before receiving the penalties right after Philadelphia fell behind 4-0.

Tortorella expressed displeasure toward the officials, and then repeatedly told referees Wes McCauley and Brandon Schrader that he would not leave. He relented after a couple minutes and headed to the locker room.

Tortorella was replaced by associate coach Brad Shaw, who handled the postgame coaches media session.

“Well, I think he was just trying to make a point that we felt like we might not been getting our fair shake,” Shaw said. “It’s an emotional game at times, and we all get elevated blood pressure.

“I’m not going to speculate on whether or not it was the right call. It’s an emotional game, you know, and Wes decided that was the right thing to do. That’s his decision in the moment.”

About 90 seconds before Brayden Point’s power-play goal made it 4-0, the referees called a penalty call on Tampa Bay’s Michael Eyssimont for tripping. It was changed to Flyers defenseman Ronnie Attard after the officials had a discussion.

“It’s just like two guys skating, hustling for a puck and their skates together and one guy fell down on and one didn’t,” Shaw said. “So, I wasn’t very excited about it myself..”

Less than a minute later, Philadelphia right wing Garnet Hathaway was given a 10-minute misconduct for making contact with Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli during a timeout for a line change.

“I’ve never seen that,” Flyers center Sean Couturier said about Tortorella’s ejection. “Did he really deserve to get kicked out honestly after what he said? He didn’t say much.”

Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman was at the game and said he was never ejected during his NHL-record 2,141 games. But Bowman added he did get tossed once as in coach in the juniors with Peterborough for throwing spare sticks on the ice during a game at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens.

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