John Tortorella is allowed to work with Vancouver Canucks coaches and team management during his 15-day suspension levied by the National Hockey League.
On Monday, when the head coach was suspended, the NHL said: “He is not permitted to have any interaction with his club prior to, during or after games.” It was the final line of a short press release that outlined the suspension for Tortorella’s actions after the first period last Saturday night, stating the fracas with the Calgary Flames was “an embarrassment to the league.”
On Tuesday night Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said some contact is allowed. On Wednesday morning, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly added clarification by e-mail.
“General theme is no contact at all with the players during the 15 days, and no contact with club personnel in and around actual games,” wrote Daly.
Tortorella can speak with Gillis and others outside the bounds of before/during/after games.
Contact with assistant coaches Mike Sullivan (now acting head coach) and Glen Gulutzan and other coaches is “subject to certain conditions and restrictions,” said Daly.
Gillis spoke to several reporters in Edmonton on Monday night where the Canucks beat the Oilers 2-1, the first of six games Tortorella will miss. The comments were posted to Canucks.com.
“Fundamentally, it’s that he can’t have any contact with the players,” said Gillis.
Tortorella was sorry for his actions, said Gillis.
“He realizes that you can’t do those things,” said Gillis. “In the heat of the moment, and the adrenalin, and the emotion, he did something that can’t be tolerated in the national hockey league.”
The Canucks are set to practice at Noon PT on Wednesday. The next four Canucks games in the suspension are at Rogers Arena, with the final one in Winnipeg on Jan. 31. It is not clear if Tortorella is allowed to fly with his team. Tortorella is eligible to be behind the bench again on Feb. 3 in Detroit against the Red Wings.
Daly said by e-mail Wednesday that “the precise terms” of the suspension were made clear to the Canucks, adding he is comfortable that the team understands those terms and will abide by them.
There is no enforcement. It is on the honour system.
As for the press release about no interaction with the club, Daly said the NHL “described those terms publicly in general terms.”
Daly said the purpose of the restrictions was to limit Tortorella’s “ability to have contact with and coach the players.”
“They were not intended to put him in a bubble and float him into the Pacific for two weeks,” wrote Daly.