Just as the NHL was tying a bow on L'Affair Burrows-Auger (or so it hoped), another potential scandal drops in Canuck Land.
Head coach Alain Vigneault allegedly instructed his players to fight in the late stages of a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. According to Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard, speaking to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Canucks enforcer Darcy Hordichuk told him: "The coach is making us fight you guys."
There were three fights in the second half of the third period, and if Boogaard's assertion is true, Vigneault has something to answer to. Canucks forward Alexandre Bolduc (6-1, 178) was pummelled by Wild monster John Scott (6-8, 258) and appeared to suffer a shoulder injury trying to fend for his face.
Hordichuk fought Boogaard, and Tanner Glass wrestled with Shane Hnidy.
But with the Canucks, more so than any other NHL franchise, the issue of a coaching ordering players to fight is a sensitive topic.
You might remember the events in March 2004, when Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi attacked Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore from behind, sucker-punched him and ended his career. Four years later, Bertuzzi's lawyers filed court papers claiming that then Canucks coach Marc Crawford had to share in the blame because he allegedly told his players that Moore had to "pay the price."
Last year, Canucks defenceman Shane O'Brien said that Canucks general manager Mike Gillis asked him to fight more during a series of meetings between players and management. Gillis, a lawyer, vehemently denied O'Brien's claim, and said the player misunderstood.
The Canucks practice on Thursday afternoon at GM Place. Stay tuned…
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