Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault and NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell have each other on speed dial this week, and while the former wasn't willing to indict Alex Burrows, he testified against another player yesterday.
Minnesota tough guy Derek Boogaard told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Canucks enforcer Darcy Hordichuk said "the coach is making us fight you guys," during the late stages of a 5-2 Wild victory on Wednesday.
The subject of management instructing players to fight is a sensitive matter with the Canucks. Vigneault said he did not tell Hordichuk to fight, but believes his player used the big, bad boss to goad the big, bad Bogeyman.
"I told Coley that I believe Boogaard," Vigneault said. "It wouldn't surprise me if Hordi told him 'Coach told me I have to fight.' It must have been a real intellectual conversation."
Hordichuk admitted that he was not under orders, and said he couldn't remember his exact words to Boogaard. He conceded that he intended to start a fight, and even told an official that he was willing to take an instigator penalty.
The teams fought three times after the Wild took a three-goal lead midway through the third period, and Canucks forward Alexander Bolduc reinjured a shoulder in a lopsided fight with Minnesota's John Scott.
Hordichuk and Bolduc are both six inches shorter, and 50 pounds lighter, than Boogaard and Scott. Bolduc is likely to miss a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow.
In March of 2004, former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi began a fight with Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore, an unwilling combatant who suffered three fractured vertebrae and a concussion. Moore, who injured Vancouver's Markus Naslund with a questionable hit three weeks earlier, is suing the Canucks, Bertuzzi and former head coach Marc Crawford for more than $38-million.
Last year, Bertuzzi filed court papers alleging Crawford shared some responsibility for the attack after telling players that Moore should "pay the price" for the hit on Naslund.
Then last season, Canucks defenceman Shane O'Brien said that general manager Mike Gillis told him to fight more during a series of meetings between management and players. Gillis denied the accusation.
"[Boogaard]wasn't looking at me and I wasn't sure he was going to fight me," Hordichuk said. "I was challenging him in the second period to fight, from the bench, and it was just a matter of time before we were going to fight. Alain doesn't have to send me out to fight."