Jarkko Ruutu hasn’t made many friends around the National Hockey League with his style of play. You can now add Rick Tocchet’s name to the list of his detractors.
The Tampa Bay Lightning head coach was upset with the Senators forward in the third period of Sunday’s game, when he felt that Ryan Craig was submarined on a hit by Ruutu.
Tocchet, who played 18 seasons in the NHL with a reputation of being one of the toughest forwards around, suggested that he would have taken on Ruutu himself – if he wasn’t the one behind the bench.
“Craig’s had two knee operations, so I don’t think that was professional,” Tocchet said to reporters after the game. “I have a suit on so I can’t do anything about it. I wish I didn’t have a suit on.”
On Monday afternoon, the Senators agitator fired back at Tocchet, saying that the head coach of a last-place club should be concerned with other things.
“If I can get the coach rattled, it’s a huge compliment to me,” said Ruutu. “Maybe he should pay attention to his club. There’s a lot more to worry about in his organization than me.”
Craig actually ended up drawing a penalty on the play, when he cross-checked Ruutu in retaliation for the questionable hit. That put the Lightning at a two-man disadvantage and Jason Spezza scored a goal on the subsequent 5-on-3 power play to seal a 3-0 Ottawa victory.