Something surprising happened in the Rangers game last night. Not them getting shut out again in the 2–0 loss — that happens all the time, at least in the games in which they don’t score half-a-dozen or so goals. But a bizarre second-period fight between Daniel Carcillo and, of all people, Marian Gaborik, set off a chain of fights and shouting and postgame insults that we surely haven’t seen the last of.
In hockey, of course, it’s standard practice to fight guys of approximately your fighting-skill level, and it’s generally understood that certain guys just don’t drop their gloves. Gaborik, who had one career fighting major before last night, would be one of those guys. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette argued that Gaborik dropped his gloves first, so Carcillo had to either “get punched in the face or fight.” We find it hard to believe, though, that Gaborik really wanted to go with Carcillo. Rangers coach John Tortorella would probably agree with us: Never short on sarcasm, Tortorella called Carcillo “a brave guy” after the game and said there’s “no honor” in what he did.
Brandon Dubinsky would have words with Carcillo from the Rangers penalty box — between Dubinsky and Tortorella, last night was a fun one for amateur lip-readers — and Avery would later challenge Carcillo, to no one’s surprise. Avery-Carcillo was one of three fights to come after Gaborik’s fighting major; just imagine how this game would have played out if it wasn’t close. These two teams don’t play again until March 14 at the Garden. That may be seven weeks away still, but hockey players have long memories.
Update: We missed this last night, but the fun continued after the game when Tortorella got snippy with the Post’s Larry Brooks during his postgame press conference. Brooks reasonably asked why no Rangers came to Gaborik’s defense, and Tortorella said he wouldn’t answer any questions from Brooks, with whom he has a history. At one point Tortorella told Brooks, “You were probably beat up at the bus stop most of the time,” and when Brooks told the Rangers coach he was “a great representative of the city,” Torts responded by telling him to “go stand somewhere else.” So make that a total of five fights on the night.