Here’s what media folk are saying in the wake of yesterday’s shouting match between John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer — the latest chapter in what’s been a simmering feud between the two bench bosses.
Maybe this is what John Tortorella meant by gamesmanship, maybe the Rangers’ coach defines that as racing to the front of his team’s bench for an exchange of angry words with Devils coach Pete DeBoer, a man whose presence he clearly cannot abide.
Maybe this latest incident, coming at 6:18 of last night’s third period after Mike Rupp punched Martin Brodeur in the mask in a Game 4 the Blueshirts trailed 3-0 and would lose 4-1, of gamesmanship was required because the Blueshirts essentially had no game.
Devils coach Pete DeBoer practically climbed over the partition separating the two benches to yell at Tortorella, with the Rangers coach returning fire. It’s safe to say these two won’t be vacationing at LBI together this summer.
“This isn’t about John and I,” DeBoer said. “This is about the guys on the ice. So I don’t have anything to say about that.”
He doesn’t have to say a thing. Tortorella provided the Devils all the motivation they needed Monday night, ripping what he perceived as its dirty play when it was his player, Brandon Prust, who was suspended for a vicious elbow in Game 3.
It was rare, not because Tortorella is the picture of serenity — he had launched a fiery tirade toward the Devils one day earlier — but because it signified an uncharacteristic lack of restraint from a disciplined Rangers squad that has built its success with its mind-numbing consistency.
The Devils were delighted.
“That’s what we’re trying to hopefully see out of them,” said defenseman Bryce Salvador, who finished with a goal and an assist, “is a lack of composure.”
Tortorella and DeBoer came only a few feet away from literally being at each other’s throats, storming to the edge of their respective benches and cursing across the working space of NBC on-ice analyst Pierre McGuire after Rupp jabbed Brodeur inside his crease following a whistle with 13:42 remaining.
“Oh it was nothin,’” McGuire joked after the game. “I’ve seen worse.”