The bad news for the Calgary Flames: their blueline is painfully thin. Mark Giordano's absence continues to loom large, as does Rafa Diaz's, injured in the final throes of the regular season. It's forced the Flames to play with five defencemen, as Bob Hartley shows no trust in Corey Potter whatsoever, and refuses to give Tyler Wotherspoon anything remotely resembling a chance.
The good news for the Flames: Deryk Engelland will not be suspended, meaning they can continue to play with five defencemen, and not be down to four. (Because let's face it: even if an Engelland suspension would force Hartley to dress Wotherspoon, it's not as though Wotherspoon would be given any actual playing time.)
The bad news: the Flames are in a position where they have to rely on Engelland to not be totally decimated out there.
The good news: five is better than four.
All this as a result of an absolutely wild finish to game 2 of the first round playoff series between the Flames and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks had just scored an empty netter to take the 4-1 lead, but it had been clear they were going to win for a while. The Flames weren't happy about that, nor were they happy about the liberties they seemed to be taking in targeting Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett. So things were already pretty chippy before that empty netter.
And then they blew up all over again:
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Bob Hartley sent out his most goonish players - and also Matt Stajan, who was, amazingly enough, the first to drop the gloves - in some form of retaliation for all that went on. It's not the first time he's pulled a move like this against the Canucks. Hartley was fined $25,000 for his provoking actions last season under NHL By-Law 17.3 (a): for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.
This time, Hartley has been fined $50,000. He not only has a (very recent) history of this kind of behaviour, but his actions were pretty transparent. Stajan, Michael Ferland, and Brandon Bollig are not a regular line. Engelland and Potter are not a defence pairing. Ferland, Bollig, and Engelland all on the ice together in the dying minutes of a losing cause is only going to mean one thing.
Had those three not set foot on the ice together, that game-ending brawl likely would not have happened. Hartley's fine is well-earned.
What wasn't well-earned was Engelland's three game misconducts. He wasn't the only player to get one, but he was the only one to get several, and it's kind of unclear why. Engelland was tied up with Derek Dorsett, fine. Dan Hamhuis, apparently having no idea where he should be, entered the fight as a third man; that's not Engelland's fault. Engelland getting penalized for having to fight two Canucks simultaneously is odd considering that situation only arose because of Hamhuis' actions.
The trio was broken up, but Engelland and Dorsett eventually got back into it in what looked like a mutual decision to go... and then Dorsett threw the first punch right into Engelland's face (while Hamhuis stood off to the side seemingly thinking, "Oh my god, what is even happening, oh my god").
So everyone got a game misconduct, but Engelland got three; however, all of his were in different categories so he won't be suspended for that. With his instigator penalty coming in the dying minutes of the game, he could have been suspended for that, but the league has (rightly) decided to rescind it, and Engelland will be in the lineup for game 3.
He played 20 minutes in game 2, so as much as he's Deryk Engelland, his presence is sincerely valued on a painfully thin blueline.
The end result: the only one to suffer from the game-ending melee was Hartley's wallet. That seems fair. Onwards to the first playoff game in Calgary in six years. It's gonna be very red.