Torts DeBoer

What they’re saying about the Tortorella-DeBoer shouting match


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.

Larry Brooks, New York Post

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.

Steve Politi, Star-Ledger

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.

Katie Strang, ESPN New York

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.”

Pat Leonard, NY Daily News

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.”


No league discipline for Devils-Rangers Game 4 shenanigans

Tortorella: Rangers need “to have a short-term memory”

DeBoer, Tortorella deflect questions about yelling match

Tortorella: Rangers need “to have a short-term memory”


New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella was relatively verbose after his team’s 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, detailing the “struggle” the Blueshirts dealt with and also hammering common bullet points such as puck possession. Overall, he seemed to follow the Bill Parcells formula of being optimistic after a loss and harder on his team following a victory.

“I thought we gained some traction as the game went on,” Tortorella said. “I’m very optimistic. I still think some guys are close to getting their games. I don’t think all of us are there. But as I’ve said all year long with this club, when you get in these situations … they always find a way to find a good game. So I’m truly confident we’ll answer it the proper way when we play our next one.”

There’s a growing sense that the Rangers simply play better hockey when things are more urgent. They stepped their games up while coming back from a 3-2 deficit against the Ottawa Senators and played terribly in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals before shutting them down in Game 7.

New York has been effective in back-against-the wall situations, which means they’ll be tough to kill off but must face the threat (or at least incessant questions) about fatigue. Either way, Torts’ positivity hasn’t been misguided so far.

Tortorella on Del Zotto: “He’ll bounce back”

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Michael Del Zotto landed in John Tortorella’s doghouse in Game 4, but it might only be a temporary stay. Tortorella was supportive of the New York Rangers defenseman after he struggled mightily in a 4-1 Game 4 defeat.

“Yeah, it was a struggle for him,” Tortorella said. “He hasn’t had many games like that this year. And we figure — I have an extra D dressed. We figured we’d take a little pressure off him, let him — just let him watch it, and Michael has gone through a great process. He’s a big part of our club. He’ll bounce back.”

The Rangers might just need him – warts and all. Even when New York is winning, the team struggles to produce consistent offense. They’ve received some key contributions from blueliners in the playoffs – Del Zotto had a huge goal in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, for one – so his offensive instincts are valuable.

Del Zotto is reportedly dealing with a death in his family, so it’s been a tough time for the young defenseman. Tortorella’s support might just pay off with a bounce-back game, then.

DeBoer, Tortorella deflect questions about yelling match

John Tortorella
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Pierre McGuire said that he needed to mute his microphone when John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer exchanged words during Game 4. That’s probably the most context we’re going to receive regarding the New Jersey Devils’and New York Rangers head coaches’ exchange – at least for a while – as both bench bosses went the “no comment” route during press conferences tonight.

Here’s another look at that brief argument, if you’re a fantastic lip reader.

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Since the two coaches aren’t expressing themselves, let’s take a quick look back at a rapidly building rivalry.

When the teams engaged in a steady stream of fights during the regular season, DeBoer bashed Tortorella for putting his ruffians on the ice while Torts critiqued DeBoer’s memory. Things were (relatively) quiet in the series until Game 3, when Torts complained about Devils players “staying down” on the ice to get calls. DeBoer called Tortorella’s comments “comical,” which provided plenty of comedy for hockey fans waiting in between contests.

Tonight’s antics provide the highlight clip of the rivalry, yet it’s not exactly the first time they’ve “expressed pleasantries.” The odds seem high that this won’t be the last time, either.

Michael Del Zotto: Latest member of Tortorella’s doghouse


There’s a segment of the New York Rangers fan base that doesn’t agree with the notion that Michael Del Zotto has improved his defense all that much since his up-and-down rookie season. In Game 4, it appeared that John Tortorella agreed.

After receiving 7:28 time on ice in the first period, Del Zotto played in just one shift in the second period (1:40) and four in third (for 2:31). It’s pretty easy to see why MDZ was warming the bench as he was guilty of some glaring lapses on defense, which was a point made most abundantly clear when Zach Parise embarrassed him to set up Travis Zajac’s 2-0 eventual game-winner:

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That segment of Rangers fans often call him “Del Zaster,”* although the exact spelling might range depending upon the angry message boards/Twitter feeds you frequent. Del Zotto registered a secondary assist on the Rangers’ only goal so perhaps he will get a chance to redeem himself, but there was no mistaking how Tortorella felt. Along with sitting on the bench, MDZ served one of Mike Rupp’s roughing penalties because the tough guy was booted from the game.

Voice your opinion on what Tortorella should do with MDZ, then. Should he be a scratch? Should he get Stu Bickell-type minutes or go back to his typical, healthy amount of minutes?

* Joke-killing clarification: “disaster.”