Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky is currently residing in John Tortorella’s doghouse

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Here’s what Rangers head coach John Tortorella had to say about maligned forward Brandon Dubinsky prior to tonight’s game against Tampa Bay:

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The penalty in question was a two-minute unsportsmanlike call Dubinsky received late in the first period of Thursday’s 3-2 win over Carolina. After some pushing and shoving around the Rangers net, Dubinsky grabbed a ‘Canes stick and hurled it against the glass, which led to Carolina scoring on the ensuing PP…and Tortorella benching Dubinsky for the remainder of the contest.

“I thought it was quite honestly a ridiculous penalty,” Tortorella told the New York Daily News. “At a time of the season when you’ve got 20 games left, that we need to be working on other things as far as details than that nonsense.”

Tortorella then confirmed that, if the Rangers lineup wasn’t depleted by injury (captain Ryan Callahan is out with a bruised foot), Dubinsky would’ve been a healthy scratch.

All told, it’s been a rough year for the 25-year-old. After posting a career-high in goals last season (24) and inking a four-year contract, $16.8 million deal in the summer, much was expected of Dubinsky heading into 2011-12. But he got off to an awful start — one goal over his first 31 games — and had his name thrown around incessantly in the Rick Nash trade rumors.

John Tortorella is going to the All-Star Game

John Tortorella
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Just when John Tortorella thought he was out of marquee NHL events, they pull him back in.

The Rangers bench boss clinched one of the 2012 All-Star Game coaching gigs by virtue of New York’s overtime win against Florida last night. That guaranteed New York a higher winning percentage than Philadelphia by the Jan. 9 deadline — while the Rangers could still be caught by the Bruins, head coach Claude Julien was already on his way to the ASG by winning the Stanley Cup last season.

So, Torts is in for one of the league’s premier festivities.

This should prove sufficiently awkward given what transpired at the Winter Classic. There, Torts used another of the NHL’s largest stages to call the refereeing “disgusting” and insinuate the officials and NBC were in cahoots to send the game to overtime, which totally wasn’t true. (*tugs collar awkwardly*)

That cost Torts $30,000 in fines and a public apology, so my guess is we won’t hear him railing against fan voting or the fantasy draft format in Ottawa. ‘Cause hey, nobody wants to taint the All-Star Game with their mouth.

[PHT Notes: The race for the spot next to Torts on an all-star bench is still up for grabs. Five Western Conference coaches — Alain Vigneault, Joel Quenneville, Todd McLellan, Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock — are still in the mix.]

NHL fines John Tortorella $30K for “disgusting” comments

John Tortorella
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John Tortorella apologized for his critiques of the Winter Classic officiating, but the NHL decided to hit him back in the wallet. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the league’s fine will make him $30,000 lighter.

Unlike the NHL’s many dirty hitters, it’s likely that Torts will learn from his lesson – or at least keep his zebra abuse to when he’s on the bench and not in front of the press.

Something tells us that this won’t keep him from being one of the most reliable sources for colorful quotes and flamboyant displays of boiling rage, though.

(And yes, we cannot wait to see how this whole scenario translates to the final episode of HBO 24/7’s coverage, either.)

Update: Puck Daddy’s Sean Leahy points out this interesting quote from Colin Campbell, which was eventually removed from NHL.com.

“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League, its officials or its broadcast partners,” Campbell said. “People can disagree with calls by officials on the ice, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Tortorella did.”

Innnteresting.

John Tortorella doesn’t care much for stat keepers

John Tortorella
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Even after seeing his team shutout the rival Islanders, Rangers coach John Tortorella can take exception with something.

This time around, Tortorella had choice words for the folks keeping stats during last night’s game. Rangers forward Brian Boyle was credited with just one blocked shot in the game after absorbing more rubber than Henrik Lundqvist did in pitching a shutout.

After the game, Tortorella sounded off to Katie Strang of ESPN New York about the lack of credit his guys got on the stat sheet.

“The league stats are ridiculous. Brian Boyle probably blocked four or five shots, he’s down for one. They shouldn’t even give us those sheets,” Tortorella said.

Both Boyle and Anton Stralman shined during a second period flurry that saw the Islanders threaten to score but come up empty thanks to their efforts. Even worse still, you can’t even blame the lack of stats on it being a homer scorekeeper as the game was at Madison Square Garden.

If you’re carrying a pen and a clipboard around John Tortorella these days, we’d suggest treading very lightly until this passes.

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Expect to see this John Tortorella meltdown on HBO

John Tortorella
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New York Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin collided with Dallas Stars newbie goalie Richard Bachman, leading to a highly questionable charging penalty on Hagelin. ESPN New York’s Katie Strang reports that Rangers head coach John Tortorella had a simple message for Hagelin when he got back to the bench: “Do it again.”

“I told him to do it again,” Tortorella said. “The goalie charged him. The goalie’s out 20 feet and [Hagelin] is going after the puck. That’s his job. So I said ‘Do it again’.”

OK, Torts said that to Hagelin, but what did he say to the officials who called that penalty? Well, let’s put it this way: if you have children who can read lips, then don’t let them watch this video. (H/T to @agentsmith):

This is probably a convenient time to mention that HBO 24/7 premieres tomorrow