Best coaching confrontations in NHL history

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Avalanche coach Tony Granato got into a heated exchange during a game in 2008. (Michael Martin/NHLI/Getty Images)

Patrick Roy certainly made an impression in his regular-season coaching debut for the Colorado Avalanche.

Following a fracas after the final horn sounded in an Avs’ 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, the Hall of Fame goaltender had some choice words for Ducks players. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau disapproved of what Roy was saying and how he was saying it.

Roy and Boudreau proceeded to yell at one another across their respective benches, while Roy displayed his affinity for yelling and his disdain for glass partitions.

In honour of Roy’s beef with Boudreau, here are some of the more memorable NHL coaching confrontations:

Ruff’s rough verbal tirade towards Murray

In one of the craziest brawls in recent years, the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators sent the hockey world abuzz with their 2007 brouhaha stemming from a Chris Neil hit on Sabres then-captain Chris Drury.

There were 100 minutes in penalties dished out on the play – heck, Sens goalie Ray Emery had two fighting majors after taking on fellow netminder Martin Biron and Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters back to back – but perhaps the most notable confrontation was between Lindy Ruff and Bryan Murray.

What makes this scene even better is seeing longtime Sabres tough guy Rob Ray standing speechless in between the coaches while Rick Jeanneret goes buck wild on the commentary.

Burns charges at Melrose in Maple Leaf Gardens

It’s one of the most memorable playoff games in both Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings history, and the image of Pat Burns storming between the benches at Maple Leaf Gardens is one of the most iconic of the late coach’s career.

In Game 1 of the 1993 Campbell Conference final, our good Sportsnet pal Marty McSorley sent Doug Gilmour to the ice with a big elbow before he and Wendel Clark engaged in an epic heavyweight scrap. Burns charged the Kings’ bench because he believed Barry Melrose ordered McSorley to go after Gilmour.

“If Ken Baumgartner did that to Wayne Gretzky, we would have been hung on Parliament Hill,” Burns famously said at the post-game press conference.

One thing is certain: No one pointed a finger with more intensity than Burns.

Brooks eggs on Demers

In one of the great displays of coaching rage, Red Wings bench boss Jacques Demers literally tries to swim over his players to get his hands on the late Herb Brooks, who was with the Minnesota North Stars at the time.

Brooks looks like he’s having some fun – his team won 8-3 that night – but Demers was furious in what was one of the more memorable moments from the 1987-88 season.

Marc Crawford is good at yelling

When the Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry hit its peak in the ’90s, any minor altercation on the ice could set things ablaze quickly. So when Martin Lapointe hit Eric Lacroix low in Game 4 of the 1997 Western Conference final, naturally a crazy brawl broke out.

Detroit was winning 6-0 at the time, and sufficed to say Crawford was upset at how the whole thing unfolded and had some choice words for Scotty Bowman and the Red Wings bench.

Laviolette barks at Bylsma

There have been a lot of great moments in the Battle of Pennsylvania, and a line brawl on April Fools’ Day in 2011 is one of the best. In one of the final games of the regular season, just 10 days before the two teams began a playoff series, tempers boiled over at the end of a game when Joe Vitale nailed Danny Briere with a huge open-ice hit.

A line brawl ensued, and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was enraged. He hopped up on the bench and let Pens coach Dan Bylsma have it. Never one to back down from a confrontation, Pens assistant Tony Granato also got involved.

Babcock unleashes some anger

Another chapter in the heated Wings-Avalanche rivalry was written in 2008 after Ian Laperriere nailed Nicklas Lidstrom with a monster first-period body check. Aaron Downey fought Laperriere on the spot, but things weren’t done there.

In the third period, Laperriere and Downey went at it again, and the typically reserved Red Wings coach Mike Babcock let loose on Tony Granato, who was an assistant with the Avs at the time.

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