Pat Quinn suggested someone should have taken a stick and snapped it over Jarome Iginla's head.
Instead, the Edmonton Oilers head coach himself was hit with a $10,000 fine from the NHL for his outburst on vigilante justice after Thursday's loss to the Calgary Flames, during which his defenceman Sheldon Souray was injured after stepping on Iginla's stick and slamming into the boards with the Flames winger on top of him.
"Mr. Quinn's comments were inappropriate and without justification," NHL senior executive vice-resident of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement yesterday.
More appropriate was the way Iginla dealt with Quinn's remarks.
You could tell the Flames captain was annoyed by the Oilers coach's comments, but he kept his rebuttal calm.
"I don't agree with it. It was an accident. I'm glad nobody hit me over the head with a stick," said Iginla, who dropped gloves at the request of Oilers captain Ethan Moreau later in the game.
"Ethan Moreau wanted to fight -- he was upset. I understand that. I don't have a history of trying to run people from behind, or clubbing people over the head with a stick.
"I don't agree with those comments, and I don't play like that."
While heading toward the corner, Iginla was riding Souray with his stick out front, intending on checking the Oilers defender.
But Souray went down early after stepping on the stick, and Iginla was on his back when the two crashed into the boards.
Quinn was livid after the shootout loss.
"I don't understand the players of today," Quinn said. "If that had happened in the old days, he would have got hit over the head with a stick right after. That's the way you used to deal with it. Now you can't touch him."
Only making him more angry was the fight with Moreau, which Quinn considered "honouring" Iginla.
"That's not addressing it," Quinn said. "In the era I come from, you're supposed to do dirt to dirt. You don't give him honour (by fighting). Why would you give a man honour for that kind of play? He honoured him with a fist-fight."
The league and Iginla weren't alone in thinking Quinn's words went too far.
Flames teammate Brian McGrattan suggested it was "verbal diarrhea" and that kind of thing is what enforcers like himself are on teams to protect against.
"He talks a good game," McGrattan said. "If they want guys to act on it, that's why I'm here. I'm ready."
Eric Nystrom addressed Quinn's suggestion things would have been handled differently in his day.
"I don't know when that day was," Nystrom said. "Those days are over. Nowadays, you accept a challenge for a fight and wash it under the rug."
Even Dallas Stars agitator Steve Ott, who makes a living trying to get under the skin of guys like Iginla, thinks the coach's comments were extreme.
"They're harsh comments," Ott said. "All in all, the NHL and the players have talked about safety the whole time. We can't be preaching safety and preaching to each other to keep safe ... if you're going to be taking vigilante attacks on each other.
"I've been suspended a few times," Ott said with a grin.
"They're taking a lot of money away from guys for doing things. You can't really police yourself too much or police other people because of the fines and suspensions."
You can't even talk about it.
For Quinn, consider it an expensive lesson learned.