I have respect for John Tortorella as a coach.
He's a straightforward guy that has taken a team that has underachieved for many years (when you look at how much money they have spent versus victories) and led them to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
There's a lot to like about the way he has handled the Rangers.
Of course, Tortorella has a Stanley Cup ring, in 2003-04 with the Tampa Bay Lighning, so the fact that he has helped turn the Rangers into a top seed should not come as too much of a surprise to anyone.
What does come as somewhat of a surprise was the way he reacted to the Penguins/Rangers game the other night.
In a game that was rather pedestrian until the final 10 minutes, Tortorella gave a post game presser that went from a legitimate complaint about a hit Books Orpik put on Derek Stepan, to scathing accusations aimed toward two Pengiun's players and then the organization as a whole.
Torts has a track record for post game pressers that is pretty well known by now. He's an emotional guy, and immediately following a game, he can still be pretty hot under the collar.
For him to speak about the Orpik hit was something everybody expected. Orpik received a 5 minute major kneeing penalty and a 10 minute game misconduct. So the incident was obviously recognized by the officiating crew called accordingly.
Tortorella saying that the hit was 'cheap and dirty' was pretty much what you would expect any coach to say. We don't know if Orpik intended on making knee to knee (actually ended up being slightly above the knee) contact, but he certainly didn't try to avoid hitting Stepan.
But when Tortorella used the incident to make wider accusations against the Penguins 'two whining stars' and then finished with -
"It's one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time, and look what happens."
"It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they, starting with their two (expletive) stars."
- He basically went juvenile and unwittingly (or perhaps knowingly) became the perfect example of his own comments.
If he has such detest and is so disgusted or thinks the Penguins and their ownership are so terrible, then why 'whine' about it. Why not show you are better than that and take the high road?
His additional comments, while certainly newsworthy (because of the accusations - and maybe that's the way he wanted it), were clearly not relevant in a situation where the referees saw the incident and punished the offending player accordingly. His comments made him sound like an angry little boy, lashing out at the kids on the playground.
Obviously, Tortorella is entitled to his own personal opinions. He's even entitled to share them with whoever he wants to...whenever he sees fit. But he should realize in this case, he's just a little off the mark...and sounded a lot more like the people he was accusing of poor behavior than someone that finds such behavior so 'ridiculous'.
Thanks for reading!