Skip to content

Tortorella apologizes for “tainting Winter Classic with his mouth”

Jan 4, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

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

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.

  1. solador78 - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I guess Torts didn’t want to end up like Bob Woolmer or Tim Donaghy.

  2. meeshka71 - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Clearly the brass has gotten to Torts. A real shame too, as the officiating in the 3rd period was just exceptionally awful. Talk about home cookin’.

  3. dolanster - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    One should really be a bit more careful and avoid using “taint” and “mouth” in the same sentence if possible.

  4. drewsylvania - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Props to Torts for owning up to it.

  5. acieu - Jan 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    He seems like a fine candidate with his PR skills to coach the NY Jets. Is he related to the Ryan family? The officials and their game judgments were a lot better than Torts lack of common sense after a win.

  6. solador78 - Jan 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    This is the second hockey-related match fixing accusation that was later retracted in the past month.

    see: Peter Forsberg & Swedish Olympic Team

  7. boltsfan777 - Jan 4, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Thanks to Torts for saying what we all feel sometimes. I wish he didn’t have to apologize.

    Jim Morrison is quoted as saying “Its a funny thing, I noticed that when people are joking theyre usually dead serious, and when theyre dead serious its usually pretty funny. So actually I think that anything that you say means exactly what you say and its opposite.”

  8. kingjoe1 - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    He is a douche. He will burn out the Rangers by the end of the first round.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 4, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Dunno about the douche part, but he’s the kind of coach who wears out his welcome fast.

  9. mornelithe - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    It’s only fair that the refs and NHL league office issue an apology next, for giving Tortorella the reason to be annoyed at the Winter Classic. Everyone but Rangers hater’s could see what was going on.

    (And I’m a Bruins fan)

  10. stakex - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    I think its safe to say the league has gotten to Torts. His true feelings are what he said right after the game, before he was forced at gun point to go say how wrong he was. Its a sahme to see him walk these comments back, because he was probably exactly right.

    “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”

    How so? The NHL has shown it will do anything, including putting players in danger with rule changes, to make the game more popular. So why is it so hard to believe the leageu told the refs that if the game is close, try to help get it to overtime? Fact is, the officiating wasn’t bad for most of the game until the last 5 minutes and then there were at least 4 REALLY obviously bad calls that all went the Flyers way. Is actually silliness to think that was just a coincidence.

    That not even getting into the fact that the “make it interesting” call has become a staple of NHL hockey these days. When ever a game is close late in the 3rd, you can all but bet the team that is trailing will get the benifit of every doubt. Its really sad actually, and its even sadder how many people pretend such things don’t happen.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 4, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      There’s a giant group of statements without supporting facts in here.

  11. goshendoug - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Tortorella is a stand up guy. He said what he felt, tongue in cheek ormnot, and he apologized, both perhaps appropriate. What I find laughable is someone like Mike Milburry getting sanctimonious on NBC about Tortorella. Perhaps the only pro hockey guy to climb into the stands and beat a fan with a shoe. Week before last we hear he berated a 12 year old hockey player. And his coup de grace, single handedly just about destroying the Islanders. Why exactly is this windbag on NBC? There are some other great, admirablen and most critically, RESPECTABLE retired American pros who coul do the job well, and hockey proud. Why him? Please make him go away!

    • solador78 - Jan 5, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Milbury works for NBC, which is owned by Comcast, who also happens to own the Flyers and just promised the NHL a billion dollars for TV rights.

  12. boltsfan777 - Jan 4, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Yes, Milbury is a windbag. We still love Torts in Tampa.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1296)
  2. C. Giroux (1125)
  3. N. Horton (1089)
  4. A. Ovechkin (1047)
  5. B. Schenn (1039)