Tortorella to DeBoer: “Just shut up”


New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer had some harsh words for John Tortorella following Monday’s line brawl at MSG. He called the New York bench boss a “hypocrite” that might’ve had “short-term memory loss” for objecting to DeBoer starting all his tough guys.

Today, Tortorella offered a blunt response:

Shut up.

“I think Peter needs to jog his memory, as far as the starting lineups that I’ve put in in his building,” Tortorella told ESPN New York (the last time they played in New Jersey, the Rangers started Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik).

“And really, basically just shut up. And I need to also.”

Despite stressing the need to shut up, Tortorella wasn’t done talking.

“I think the situation last night was disrespectful to players, and I think we took a backwards step,” he continued. “I get put into a position when he puts a lineup out, that I’m not sure what’s going to happen if I put my top players out, so I have to answer the way I need to answer.

“Just look at the two lineups and some of the things he’s done through the games here. I don’t want to coach his team here, but just shut up.”

DeBoer opened last night’s contest with Eric Boulton, Ryan Carter and Cam Janssen up front — combined, they’ve fought 22 times this year — a response to the lineup Tortorella started on Dec. 20 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. In that game, a 4-1 Rangers win, Torts started both Mike Rupp and Brandon Prust with Rupp and Janssen fighting three seconds into the first period.

That said, the Rangers head coach made it clear he doesn’t enjoy staged fights.

“Fighting’s part of the game, it’s a big part of the game, but it doesn’t need to be manufactured,” Tortorella said. “In that type of game — Jersey and the Rangers — there was going to be fights, but it’s really gotten old for me, the staged fights.

“That crap at the beginning of the game, to try to manipulate it into it, I just don’t think it’s right for the game. I think there’s enough of it and there always will be and there should be, but let the players decide.”

Tortorella wants end-of-game replays, hasn’t really thought it through

John Tortorella

Two days after his team was denied a last-second goal due to a controversial call, New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella said it might be time for the NHL to adopt late-game replays.

“We spend a lot of B.S. with the shootout and all these little gimmicks we have in our game,” Tortorella told reporters. “I think it’s more important to make sure we get the calls right in those situations.

“Now, have I thought the ramifications through? No.”

[This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Kramer’s in the department store change room and decides to sell the clothes he’s wearing to another customer, then realizes he’s naked with nothing to put on. “I didn’t think it through!”]

ANYWAY, back to hockey…

The Rangers thought they’d tied up Tuesday’s game with New Jersey when Ryan Callahan scored with 3.5 seconds left, but the goal was waved off because Marian Gaborik had crashed into Martin Brodeur:

Replays showed that Gaborik appeared to be pushed by Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov, but officials opted to whistle Gaborik for interference.

Tortorella was vehement in his objections from the Rangers bench, but declined to comment following the game. Guess he saved it all for today.

“I’m just speaking as far as what we experienced the other night, and maybe it does take a few extra seconds, but in the last minute of a game, you need to try and get that call right,” he said. “I’m not saying it was wrong. I’m just saying you’ve got to get it right.”

Video: Tortorella isn’t a fan of hasty Stanley Cup talk

John Tortorella
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It’s tough to blame John Tortorella for (profanely) shooting down New York Rangers’ owner James Dolan’s comments about the team being “pretty close” to a Stanley Cup. There’s no doubt that the Rangers are a contender at this moment, but saying that they rank as frontrunners might be a bit much.

Still, it take a lot of courage to say such a thing regarding the guy who pays you. Watch Mike Milbury and Keith Jones discuss Torts’ brave response to his owner’s comments in the video below.

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McLellan joins Tortorella, Julien as 2012 All-Star Game coaches

Todd McLellan

For pure entertainment value, it would probably be most fun to watch Claude Julien vs. Alain Vigneault as this year’s All-Star Game coaches. (Then again in that case, it might be best to replace “fun” with “awkward and contentious.”)

Julien already gets an automatic spot thanks to that 2011 Stanley Cup victory, but his rival won’t be at the event thanks to a close loss tonight. The Florida Panthers’ scrappy 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks placed San Jose Sharks’ bench boss Todd McLellan on the West side for the 2012 All-Star Game while John Tortorella already wrapped up the other spot on Friday.

It might be strange that McLellan is in this spot since there are four West teams with more standings points, but the role is determined by winning percentage instead. (Otherwise it would be unfair to coaches whose teams played less games at the deadline, such as McLellan’s Sharks.)

Julien and his Bruins assistants will take on McLellan and Tortorella in the All-Star Game, with the rosters being determined once again by fantasy drafts. The full rosters should be announced on Thursday, while the team captains are likely to be named quite a bit later.

Tortorella apologizes for “tainting Winter Classic with his mouth”

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers

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.