There's a difference between having respect for your opponent (in the sense that you won't continue to throw punches once he's on the ice or the linesmen have stepped in) and making out with him after the fight. It makes it look theatrical. I get that guys wanna set the tone for the game, but that is ridiculous.
This is the LNAH- they fight for the fans as often as for hockey reasons. Few, if any, of these players are making it past the ECHL- although some have played at higher levels in the past- and the league has a tradition of physical hockey and fighting.
It's in no way saying that. Again, it ignores how obvious the intention was here with the 4th line out and Westgarth taking the opening faceoff.
If you start your goons for the opening faceoff, have a goon winger take that faceoff, then your players simultaneously drop the gloves and make no play on the puck, the team and coach deserves to be punished.
It's not like there will be many cases where a 4th line legitimately starts a game and a line brawl accidentally breaks out.
Why do there need to be fines, or any punishment beyond penalties, after a line brawl? What happened in this game, where there were no instigator penalties, that warrants any supplemental discipline?
Hartley absolutely did. He put out that starting lineup and had Westgarth, a winger, take the opening faceoff. Everyone in the hockey world knew exactly what was going on. When you put those players out and an all out brawl ensues, the coach is responsible.
If the league is fine with the outcome, so be it. But if they don't like how that game and want to be seen as a legitimate sport then they absolutely need to punish Hartley for his actions. Everyone knew what was going to happen. This wasn't simply a coach starting his 4th line.
It's fitting that it happens the same night as the Wings goal off the netting. If the NHL wants to be taken seriously they need to address what is actually happening. Everyone knew the Wings goal shouldn't have counted, yet it did because of four incompetent officials and a bad review policy. Everyone knows what was going to happen when Hartley put out that lineup.
The league has all the legitimacy of professional wrestling tonight.
IMO nothing would make hockey less legitimate than not allowing certain players to start a game, or play against other players.
If Torts wanted to defuse the situation, he could have played the Sedins with Sestito. None of the Canucks were jumped in the line brawl, despite Westgarth having the chance to force Bieksa to fight. The refs also went overboard in giving four players from each team misconducts for secondary altercations, when two of the fights were simultaneous.