The physical aspect of hockey has always appealed to part of the audience, including John Tortorella, who believes that “the art of accepting body checks” has been lost over time.
The head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers made this comment after his forward Garnet Hathaway was kicked out of Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils for a particularly harsh contact with Luke Hughes.
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This somewhat late tackle when several players were chasing the puck did not do too much damage since the young defenseman was in uniform the next day for the game against the San Jose Sharks.
Luke Hughes goes to the locker room following this hit by Garnet Hathaway.
Hathaway has been assessed a 5-minute major penalty and has been ejected. pic.twitter.com/KRfhCXeN5E
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 1, 2023
According to Tortorella, Hathaway should never have received a five-minute major penalty and simply should not have been punished. The American believes that in times not so long ago, players reacted in a better way to these impressive shoulder thrusts.
“I’m not trying to demean the league. I just believe that we have taken away control of the game from the players. In the old days, and I’m not trying to go very far, you had to learn to receive contact,” he said in a press briefing after the game.
“And if you dish out a big shoulder punch, you shouldn’t have to fight with someone two seconds later. This is what I don’t understand. I don’t blame anyone, I just don’t like where the sport is going,” added Tortorella, who is known for his sometimes controversial statements.