Canucks coach John Tortorella returns to the bench Monday night against the Red Wings following a 15-day suspension. (Al Bello / Getty Images)
Detroit — Vancouver coach John Tortorella is returning to the Canucks bench Monday against the Red Wings after serving a 15-day suspension by the NHL.
Tortorella was suspended for his role in a Jan. 18 brawl against the Calgary Flames.
Angry about a brawl to begin the game, Tortorella tried to get after Calgary coach Bob Hartley between periods, going as far as trying to get into the Flames locker room.
“I apologize first and foremost to the players, and the situation I put them in, to the organization and to the league,” Tortorella said Monday morning after the Canucks morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s been embarrassing, not just for me but everyone around me.”
Vancouver was 2-4-0 during Tortorella’s absence — have lost three consecutive games — and has fallen to eighth in the West, just one point ahead of Phoenix for the second and last wild-card spot.
Tortorella wasn’t allowed any contact with the team during his suspension. Assistant coaches Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan ran the Canucks in his absence.
Over their last 10 games, the Canucks are 3-7-0.
“We’ve let a lot of teams back into the picture,” Tortorella said. “We’re in a tough spot right now. It’s up to me to do my job and get this team back.”