Fight Club! Canucks and Flames Brawl, Before Reluctantly Playing Some Hockey

Dimitri Filipovic
January 18 2014 08:49PM

Just a few minutes before the puck was set to drop on Saturday night's game between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, I (and all of the other media members here on press row), received a piece of paper from a Rogers Arena employee. This piece of paper included the lineups we'd see in action tonight, and all of the scratches.

More prevalently, though, it also included a list of the 5 players each team would ice for the opening faceoff. As soon as we received it, everyone saw the writing on the wall..

Two seconds in, our collective assumption was proven correct; a full-out line brawl broke out.  

Here's the video in case you missed it the mayhem:

After exchanging some words with Kevin Westgarth before the puck was dropped, Kevin Bieksa moved in to take the faceoff himself. We'd seen something like this before from a John Tortorella-led group:

After all the dust had settled, the Canucks had actually earned themselves a power play opportunity (which they failed to score on). The crowd in the building definitely enjoyed the festivities, but I should also point out that nearly half of the lower bowl was missing (you picked the wrong night to be fashionably late, Vancouver!). On my Twitter timeline, the feelings were split down the middle. Some people loved it, some people hated it.

However it winds up playing out, we can all agree that it was quite the scene, and there's no denying that. I personally know that I won't be forgetting it any time soon for better or for worse. I'm not sure how I feel about it, though. My first instinct is that it was a total sideshow, but after having sat through some miserably boring Canucks games last season, I guess this is a better alternative?

And for the record my biggest beef is with Bob Hartley and the Flames. They sent out their goon squad to start the game, and obviously had bad intentions. All John Tortorella did was stick up for his team, which I have no issue with. I wasn't able to hear what PJ Stock and the rest of CBC's HNiC roundtable was saying, but from what I've gathered they were on Tortorella's case.. which I don't get? What was he supposed to do there? 

On a 'trying to win hockey games' front, it was a pretty dumb move by the Canucks:

Expect to see a ton of Hamhuis and Tanev, you guys. Even moreso than usual which is saying something. Now, the Calgary Flames aren't very good at hockey so they'll probably get able to get away with it.

One little subplot that may be missed is that this was Kellan Lain's NHL debut, and it only lasted 2 seconds. He's a fringe NHLer at best right now, and if Zac Dalpe draws back into the lineup, then Lain probably goes back to Utica. I don't think that's the way he envisioned his first NHL experience going down.

Anyways, I'm kind of curious to hear what your individual thoughts on the incident were. I've seen arguments on Twitter that this was the result of a frustrated team, that couldn't contain themselves. I agree with this to an extent. I buy the frustration, but I think what we saw was a team that's slowly coming to grips with the realization that it's not as good as it once was right now. Sometimes you look in the mirror, and don't like what you see..

After what happened last time, I'm not sure the Canucks can handle any more moral victories.

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#1 Kypreos
January 18 2014, 11:25PM
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Bieksa is a goof!

He ran away from Westgarth and went after Smid.

What a loser. Then he got his a$$ kicked by Ladislav.

Go flames Go!

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#2 John Tortellini
January 18 2014, 10:25PM
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What a bush league brawl by two bush league teams and an undersized bush league coach giving his usual theatric performance.

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#3 Rusty
January 18 2014, 10:47PM
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Turned off the TV after the fights started. Kids were keen on watching at least part of the first period but I didn't see the point since there was obviously no hockey to be played tonight....

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#4 PB
January 18 2014, 09:32PM
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That was the dumbest thing I've seen in a long time. The Flames are terrible. I cannot believe we are playing down to their level. Perhaps this is what is meant by blowing up the team. Literally blowing up the team, burning the house down. How many more days in January?

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#5 wes
January 19 2014, 12:57AM
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for too long the canucks have been decried as a soft team. turns out that it's just a large percentage of the canucks fan base that are. bring on the trashes. go canucks! #newattitude.

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#6 Kypreos
January 18 2014, 11:27PM
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PB wrote:

That was the dumbest thing I've seen in a long time. The Flames are terrible. I cannot believe we are playing down to their level. Perhaps this is what is meant by blowing up the team. Literally blowing up the team, burning the house down. How many more days in January?

Really?

Not again.

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#7 brawlfiSh
January 19 2014, 12:40AM
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I loved it. It was fun to watch but that's not why I loved it. I loved it for what it represents.

For too long the Canucks have been mistakenly ridiculed as a 'soft' team. After the last week of hockey, I think you'll be hearing considerably less of that particular critique.

Under AV they showed too much faith in the referees - and in the other team - for the game to be played within the rules.

Under JT they stand up for each other and take matters into their own hands. No whining or complaining. Whatever it takes. As a team. No matter what.

As the playoffs approach, it's exactly the team first, not in our building, mental toughness and passion that I want to see.

It wasn't pretty, but it was a test, and they did pass it.

Win or lose it's refreshing to watch a Canucks team that will not back down from any challenge.

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#8 Ted
January 19 2014, 02:41PM
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Flamers are now run by Burke and Hearless. Get used to it, Calgary. Teams that can't compete but will goon it up. That's about it. Canucks won and Flamers lost.

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#9 GeezMoney
January 19 2014, 11:27AM
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Wait for it... wait for it... 1989... 1989! We're better fans than you because of 1989... Flames fans are from Alberta, so broken records -- along with spirit --is par for the course.

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#10 Really???No Really??
January 20 2014, 09:46AM
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CoLa wrote:

Contrary to your opinion, I felt Bieksa performed a noble act by switching places with Lain before the faceoff. He probably tried to spare Lain from having to fight a tough opponent in the first shift of his first NHL game.

This is the stupidest post on this forum. So Bieksa pretends to hero up and take the draw. He was standing opposite Westgarth.

As Kypreos said Bieksa runs from Westgarth and instead he goes and targets Smid -- he might as well have turtled.

Guess who Westgarth partnered up with anyways....Yup rookie Kellen Lain who did pretty good for himself ... so Yeah your Bieksa is pretty much a paper leader. And crazy enough some of the HNIC Analysts think he did the right thing..HAHA.

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#11 CoLa
January 19 2014, 07:21PM
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Kypreos wrote:

Bieksa is a goof!

He ran away from Westgarth and went after Smid.

What a loser. Then he got his a$$ kicked by Ladislav.

Go flames Go!

Contrary to your opinion, I felt Bieksa performed a noble act by switching places with Lain before the faceoff. He probably tried to spare Lain from having to fight a tough opponent in the first shift of his first NHL game.

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#12 Yeah Right
January 20 2014, 07:21AM
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I thought Calgary instigated all of it. If you watch it from the start, Calgary grabs all of the Canucks and start fighting, where then the Canucks respond. Horse.... if anyone blames the Canucks. Hartley is the problem here.

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