John Tortorella is notoriously guarded when it comes to disclosing the health of his players.
On Thursday, he explained why.
“A big part of a coach’s responsibility — [whether it’s] injuries and a lot of different things that come along during the season — is to protect the player,” Tortorella said on his ‘Behind the Bench’ show on MSG Network (via ESPN New York).
“This with the media thinking they need to get all the information, I don’t agree with it.”
Tortorella’s disclosure practices came under scrutiny in February when, asked about the status of injured forward Rick Nash, he told a reporter “none of your business.”
That incident was just part of the Great Nash Injury Mystery of 2013.
After missing a practice for what the club called “body maintenance,” Nash was questionable for the next day’s game versus Washington, only to suit up and play a whopping 22:33.
That was followed by him being held out of action for four games — and serving a stint on IR — before rejoining the club.
While all that was going on, Larry Brooks of the New York Post penned a piece suggesting Nash had suffered some type of head injury after taking a big hit from Boston forward Milan Lucic — five days before the Washington game:
The Rangers aren’t saying anything about the condition of Nash, who played two days after taking the unpenalized hit and then again three days after that despite a couple of days that we know of, when he wasn’t feeling well.
No one is saying whether No. 61 is suffering post-concussion symptoms. Perhaps more to the point, no one is saying he isn’t.
The Nash example is a microcosm of how Tortorella and the Rangers treat injuries.
Judging by his words on MSG Network Thursday night, he isn’t going to apologize or change anytime soon.
“I think we need to give [media] what they need — they have a job to do — but they don’t need to know everything that’s going on with your hockey club and players — including the public and the paying customers,” he explained.
“They pay a lot of money, and we’re trying to put on a good show for them, but they do not need to know everything about what’s going on with our club.”