NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: (L) Steve Downie #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is separated from (R) Artem Anisimov #42 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Sometimes hockey can be a game of emotions.
We saw that last night when Artem Anisimov's celebration after a beautiful shorthanded goal turned into a brawl between the two sides. Eventually the Tampa Bay Lightning would tie the game and win in a shootout, but after everything was said and done all anyone could talk about was Anisimov's "mistake."
Honestly, I don't think it was that big of a deal.
Was it intentionally meant to insult the Lightning? No. Is Anisimov a classless player because of it? No. Was it smart? Absolutely not. Did it breath life back into Tampa Bay? Maybe.
Anisimov got overexcited after scoring one of the prettiest goals of the season, and the Lightning were upset because they had just given up a shorthanded goal and were upset with the celebration. After the game Steven Stamkos said Anisimov shot at Vincent Lecavalier. Lecavalier told the media Anisimov shot at the net.
That's just emotions on both sides. Emotions are what sports is about.
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I also think it's important to note the way John Tortorella handled the situation.
There are many Tortorella haters out there, and while I'm certianly not one of them, I think we all can agree that Tortorella did the right thing once the game was over. Anisimov apologized to his teammates right after the game way over, and there was absolutely no need to subject a player who was already upset to the media right after the game.
Tortorella told the media he was in "protection mode" last night, and I think that should be applauded. Anisimov is not a dirty player and there was no need to have him talking to the media while he was emotional. He will be available to the media today, according to Tortorella's press conference, and hopefully everyone can move on.
Just one other thought on the incident.
The Lightning had no issues calling Anisimov classless; but Stamkos seemed to have no problem punching Anisimov with a glove on, and I guess Tampa Bay didn't see Steve Downie jump over the boards to enter the ensuing scrum illegally either. Just a thought.
Stamkos also said after the game that "I think I've seen him do that once or twice before, so no surprise there."
I might be wrong here, but I don't think I've ever seen Anisimov celebrate a goal like that before. I think Stamkos was just a little wound up.