Flames' mascot is left speechless Harvey the Hound got too close to Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, and got his tongue ripped out.

Posted: January 23, 2003

TORONTO — What's the National Hockey League coming to? The commissioner is crying, poor clubs are filing for bankruptcy, attendance is down, and now Calgary's Harvey the Hound has lost his tongue.

Harvey, a giant white hound with a foot-long tongue, was taunting Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish on Monday night.

Harvey got brave and leaned over the glass behind the bench. MacTavish turned around and yanked his tongue right of his mouth, then waved it like a trophy to the crowd.

"You deal with a lot of stuff as a coach, and Harvey the Hound isn't normally in the job description, nor should it be," MacTavish said after the game.

Harvey, who was the NHL's first mascot, became a cause celebre throughout Canada on Tuesday, especially in Toronto.

"I thought for sure they would start having a fund for Harvey the Hound," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday. "A Save Harvey fund. Hopefully they get that done. Harvey needs his tongue back."

This isn't the first time Harvey has bitten off more than he can chew. When Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn was general manager in Vancouver, he recalls Harvey defiling a Canucks sweater between periods, infuriating Quinn, whose temper is legendary.

Quinn went on the ice after Harvey. In shoes. Quinn nearly broke his neck slipping and sliding.

"I was goofy enough to go out in shoes . . . so I backed off and waited at the gate for Harvey, but he wisely chose to go somewhere else," Quinn said.

Quinn said Harvey must have done something mean to get mild-mannered MacTavish so riled up. Either way, the Flames issued an apology to MacTavish and the Oilers.

NHL spokesman Frank Brown called it "bad judgment" on Harvey's part.

Hitchcock admitted he's never had a run-in with Harvey. Harvey didn't mess with the Flyers in October when they were in Calgary.

Nevertheless, should someone call the Humane Society?

"I don't know if this is abuse of the mascot, but Harvey needs to know what side of the glass to be on," Hitchcock said. "Either get on the bench and start playing or stay behind it."

Hitchcock thinks Harvey got off comparatively easy.

"I mean, he lost his tongue," Hitchcock said. "He could have lost his head. Hopefully, Harvey is a little smarter the next time."

Trading for Wright. The Flyers' latest deal yesterday brought another guy who will give them minutes and experience, but won't score goals.

Jamie Wright, a 6-foot, 194-pound forward, is similar to Tomi Kallio and Joe Sacco. A worker bee. He'll replace injured Justin Williams on right wing. The Flyers got him from the Flames for future considerations.

"All three of our coaches have had Jamie at different times during his career," general manager Bob Clarke said in a statement. "They felt that Jamie would be a good utility player, along the lines of Joe Sacco. He can play either wing, is a good worker and is an intelligent player. The coaches liked what Jamie could bring to our club."

Wright, 26, had four points (two goals, two assists) and 12 penalty minutes in 19 games for Calgary this season.

Loose pucks. John LeClair skated by himself yesterday for the first time since dislocating his right shoulder Nov. 27 in Pittsburgh. "I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "That was encouraging. But we're still a little ways to go." LeClair said he was shooting for a return at the end of February, although last week he said Feb. 15 - the same date the Flyers have targeted for his return to action.

Defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson, rehabilitating a pinched nerve in his back, could play Friday against the Islanders at the First Union Center.

Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or tpanaccio@phillynews.com.

This article includes information from the Toronto Star and Sun.

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