New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella has been suspended one game by the National Hockey League because of his altercation with a fan during New York's Game 5 loss to the Washington Capitals.
An NHL press release stated that Tortorella will miss Game 6 of the series on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Rangers assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld is expected to replace Tortorella for the game, where the Rangers have another chance to eliminate Washington.
A league investigation revealed that Tortorella squirted a fan with water prior to the coach being doused with a beverage himself.
"While it is a difficult decision to suspend a coach at this point in a playoff series, it has been made clear to all of our players, coaches and other bench personnel that the National Hockey League cannot— and will not – tolerate any physical contact with fans," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell in a press release.
The Rangers released a statement on Saturday night, saying "We disagree with the suspension and will have no further comment."
With 13 minutes 27 seconds remaining during Friday's game, Tortorella was involved in a confrontation with a fan which led him to throw a plastic drinking bottle into the stands, which according to the Washington Post, struck a female fan in the head.
"He was losing and he was frustrated, I guess," said Claudette Chandonia to the Post, the women he allegedly hit with the bottle. "I couldn't believe it. I looked up, and he was throwing the water bottle -- and then it hit me right here, right in the head, and it bounced off me."
Following the incident, Tortorella grabbed a hockey stick and made gestures that he was going to head into the stands until Schoenfeld calmed him down.