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Lightning beat Rangers 2-1, Tortorella lashes out at officiating

Feb 27, 2011, 6:23 PM EDT

John Tortorella AP

It was a classic, tight checking, tough defensive game but not the sort of game that puts you to sleep. Vincent Lecavalier‘s 5-on-3 power play goal broke a 1-1 tie in the early third period to give the Lightning the win. Dwayne Roloson held strong making 22 saves to make it stick to give the Lightning a key win as they look to win the Southeast Division.

How the Lightning got that 5-on-3 was the main point of contention for Rangers coach John Tortorella after the game. It started with a questionable boarding call to Dan Girardi for hitting Steve Downie awkwardly into the boards. Brian Boyle was then busted for delay of game for putting the puck over the glass. Moments later Lecavalier is ripping a shot past Henrik Lundqvist.

Tortorella  was not amused with the call on Girardi that started things off. Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants gives us the foul-mouthed details from the coach.

“It’s a tough one,” Tortorella said. “We gave them **** all night long and they beat us five on three on a horse**** call to start.

“Yes,” Tortorella added when asked if the Rangers had done what it needed to do to win. “We defended. We had problems with their speed early on but then we finally got our forecheck going. They sit back, they want you to dump it in. They have that defenseman sitting back in the blue. We knew how they were going to play. And we got around the puck as the game went on. We had some chances, we didn’t score, right to the bitter end.

“As the game went on, it was one of those games. Both teams were grinding. I just wish the league would stay the hell out of it and let the teams decide it. It’s bull****. There’s too much at stake here.

“We took some stupid penalties but Danny Girardi’s is not a boarding call. It’s just a simple guess. We gave them nothing five on four, nothing and we get beat five on three and it starts with a bad call.”

So tell us how you really feel.

The hit that sent Girardi off that’s got Tortorella mad was a borderline call and as officiating is wont to do, it’s highly subjective in how things are seen. Downie went into the boards awkwardly but the play didn’t appear to be a textbook hit for boarding. These sorts of calls happen every game and no one is going to be able to go away happy.

Tortorella asking to let the teams decide the game, in this case, might’ve been all right as both teams were playing hard and giving it all they had. Asking that in other situations is inviting the “old” way back in where teams get away with mugging each other and we’re forced to be bored to death for 60+ minutes at a time.

The battle for the playoffs for the Rangers will rage on and Tortorella is likely to get fined for his statements, but for the Rangers, they’re going to have to find a way to generate goals. Brandon Prust‘s shorthanded goal today was controversial on its own as it could’ve been ruled that Prust interfered with Roloson on the play. The Rangers need to do better than one or two goals a game. Henrik Lundqvist is fantastic but asking him to be lights out every night is horribly demanding.

Now we’ll wait and see if Tortorella’s yelling earns him some benefit of the doubt in the future from the guys in stripes. Grandstanding and lashing out the way he did can sometimes pay off in the future.

  1. stakex - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Torts is right… the league plays god when it comes to who wins in the NHL these days.

    Not only was the call on Girardi horrible (a close call? Did you even watch the game, or know anyting about hockey?), but what about the phantom call on Dubinsky for interference? The Tampa player skates into him, the two bearly touch skates, throw in a blatent dive, and the Ragners were short handed yet again on a total BS call. Tortorella had every reason to be up in arms about the way the game was refed, and its not just this game… its an aweful lot of games these days.

    Personally the NHL of old was far more entertaining. Perhaps thats because I actually play hockey, and I’m not like the rest of lame ass America that needs sporting events to be pansified skill contests filled with goals so I can sit there going “ooo” and “ahh”. Its far more entertaining and thrilling to have 1-0, 2-1 games that are hard fought battles, then 7-5 goal fests that are filled with laughable penelties.

    But even in the new pansified, sissy filled NHL (Cindy Crysby I’m looking in your direction) the league needs to get a handle on the horrible calls. A hook is a hook, fine… but a tap on the gloves with your stick is not a hook and shouldn’t be called as such. A clean hit in which a guy throws himself into the boards is not boarding and should not be called as such. When the NHL tells the refs to call everything that might even possibly be a penelty you get horrible calls that change games (and oddly enough often change games in the favor of teams the league happens to want in the Cup finals). Instead of calling everything that MIGHT be a penelty, refs should be told to only call what they know for sure is a penelty…

    Of course the league won’t do that becuase more penelties means more goals… and the lame ass people in this country seem to want that. Not to mention it would make the leagues favoring of certain teams even more obvious.

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