On Monday April 2 Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was fined $10,000 for his outbreak preceding Joe Vitale’s hit on Danny Briere late in the third period last Sunday.
Joe Vitale’s questionably clean hit triggered a line brawl, sending not only the players in chaos but coaches as well. As the players dropped gloves, Laviolette’s temper rose as he began to shout rashly at Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. Amidst the players violence Laviolette became aggressive himself – breaking a stick against the boards.
Although Bylsma refused to fight, Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato was angered by the verbal abuse and made the decision to join in the brawl. Granato was also fined $2,500 by the NHL for his actions.
“Those guys hadn’t been out there in 12 minutes,” Peter Laviolette stated after the game, “It’s a gutless move by their coach. It’s gutless.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins said what instigated Vitales hit was the cheap cross check from Brayden Schenn to Sidney Crosby earlier in the period. The difference, they claim, was Vitale’s hit was clean and Schenn’s was dirty and classless.
“It’s clearly a cheap shot,” Bylsma commented on Schenn’s hit. “It’s clearly a guy targeting a player that was well after the whistle.”
Sidney Crosby’s post game statement was simple but true, “We really don’t like one another…they seem to bring out the worst in me too.”
The referee’s ended up recording 15 penalties during the brawl with 1:03 left in the game. Two of which including 10 minute misconducts for both Aaron Asham and Zac Rinaldo.
The heated game in Consol Energy Center ended with a 6-4 victory for the Philadelphia Flyers. Shots on goal however were 46 – 26 in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This interstate rival continues next Saturday, bringing both teams to the end of their regular seasons. The Penguins and Flyers also kickoff the first round of the playoffs against each other.