If nothing else, Rangers coach John Tortorella is an honest guy. Sometimes he’s a bit too honest like he was after the Winter Classic expressing his displeasure with the officiating late in the game.
Today, Tortorella was busy apologizing for those comments that were both honest and tongue-in-cheek.
“I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth and I shouldn’t have,” Tortorella said at Rangers practice this morning. “They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees on my part and what was done at the end of the game.”
Tortorella added that he apologized for his remarks about the officiating being “disgusting” and that he regrets that choice of words. He added that he apologized to anyone he could get a hold of including Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Tortorella said he’ll wait until he sees referees Ian Walsh and Denis Larue in person to apologize to them.
He also said his comments about there being a conspiracy to get the game to overtime were “tongue-in-cheek,” as Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants gathers.
“For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of (referees) Denny (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh), the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here—there’s not a chance I am thinking that way,” Tortorella continued.
It’s unfortunate that Tortorella had to go this far with everything. His comment about the officiating may still get him fined by the NHL, but his talk about there potentially being a conspiracy to get the game to overtime was snarky silliness at its best and ill-timed at its worst. The next time a coach wants to joke around about things, he’ll have to do it at a time that isn’t right after the game.