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Tortorella says players, fans ‘don’t need to know’ about players’ injuries

Mar 8, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT

John Tortorella AP

John Tortorella is notoriously guarded when it comes to disclosing the health of his players.

On Thursday, he explained why.

“A big part of a coach’s responsibility — [whether it’s] injuries and a lot of different things that come along during the season — is to protect the player,” Tortorella said on his ‘Behind the Bench’ show on MSG Network (via ESPN New York).

“This with the media thinking they need to get all the information, I don’t agree with it.”

Tortorella’s disclosure practices came under scrutiny in February when, asked about the status of injured forward Rick Nash, he told a reporter “none of your business.”

That incident was just part of the Great Nash Injury Mystery of 2013.

After missing a practice for what the club called “body maintenance,” Nash was questionable for the next day’s game versus Washington, only to suit up and play a whopping 22:33.

That was followed by him being held out of action for four games — and serving a stint on IR — before rejoining the club.

While all that was going on, Larry Brooks of the New York Post penned a piece suggesting Nash had suffered some type of head injury after taking a big hit from Boston forward Milan Lucicfive days before the Washington game:

The Rangers aren’t saying anything about the condition of Nash, who played two days after taking the unpenalized hit and then again three days after that despite a couple of days that we know of, when he wasn’t feeling well.

No one is saying whether No. 61 is suffering post-concussion symptoms. Perhaps more to the point, no one is saying he isn’t.

The Nash example is a microcosm of how Tortorella and the Rangers treat injuries.

Judging by his words on MSG Network Thursday night, he isn’t going to apologize or change anytime soon.

“I think we need to give [media] what they need — they have a job to do — but they don’t need to know everything that’s going on with your hockey club and players — including the public and the paying customers,” he explained.

“They pay a lot of money, and we’re trying to put on a good show for them, but they do not need to know everything about what’s going on with our club.”

  1. rwbart1 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    The Bellichek of the NHL

    • jsutan - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Without the record

      • mattybo - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        Spygate tainted record*

      • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        Without the cheating and never seen before punishments for the cheating.

  2. nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I don’t understand why fans and the media think they have a right to get upset about this. Maybe some players don’t want their medical records to be public information.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      nhl has the most lax rules for reporting injuries anyway, reporting upper body injury for a concussion is about as ambiguous as it gets. if it were the playoffs then its a different story. torts has every right to be what he’s being right now – a coach concerned with his players. i dont see too many people placing bets on reg season nhl games so really all we need to know is if they are on ir or not.

    • rsl22 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Yea, screw those fans who pay money to go to games and spend hours watching on TV. Why should they get to find out what’s going on?

  3. cameltoews - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I agree. Do you want the media reported your injuries for the world to see. I don’t think so. Especially if there are players who would target said injury during the game.

  4. President Charles Logan - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Its today’s busy body world we live in , everyone need to everyone’s business , you can thank the internet for that .

    • drewzducks - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      I don’t know about you but I still haven’t forgiven Martha for what she did to you.

  5. jb8383 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Fine, so don’t disclose your player’s injuries. You don’t hear any other NHL coach complaining about it. They all have to deal with the media too.

    • nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      He’s not complaining about it, the media is inquiring about it.

      Oh and….no other NHL coach deals with the NYC sports media.

      • buckyblackhawk - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Toronto media is probably worse when it comes to hockey.

      • mpg44 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        All things he would have thought about BEFORE taking a job in New York for a sports team. Get over it!

      • dangle13x - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Yea because NY is such a hockey town. HA!

    • nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      He’s not complaining about it, the media is inquiring about it.

      Oh and….no other NHL coach deals with the NYC sports media.

      • jb8383 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Then he should coach somewhere else if he can’t handle himself in the NYC media. Oh, wait, that’s right, no one else in the NHL wants him as their coach. He couldn’t handle himself in Tampa either. In 2007 he told Larry Brooks to” get the f**k out of here” after losing to the Devils and then he was fined $10,000 after losing to the Atlanta Thrashers. This is all when he was with the Lightning, not in the NYC media. He didn’t even have enough class to go down the line and shake the players hands after the loss to the Devils last year in conference finals. Sorry but no other NHL coach handles himself that poorly. Wonder why he was dismissed from Tampa even after winning a Stanley Cup there…because he’s a loser.

      • nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        I’m not gonna get into a “should Torts be the Rangers/any team’s coach” debate”.

        Someone said something about Torts complaining about this issue, I pointed out that the media ask him about it and he answered. Maybe it wasn’t the answer they wanted, but whatever. He doesn’t have to tell them anything he doesn’t want to.

      • jb8383 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        Yes, I pointed it out. I’m not debating whose coach he should be either, I’m pointing out he’s terrible with handling the media, not just in nyc. He needs to learn to handle himself better, he’s a professional coach and he has to talk to the media, it’s part of his contract. So he doesn’t have to disclose his player’s injuries, that’s fine. He also doesn’t have to be such an a-hole all the time.

      • whatthepuck2012 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        There’s really no way at all he can deflect questions about the health of a player other than telling a reporter (who Torts even admitted had a job to do), “None of your business.”? He’s a rude, whiny, overgrown baby who has an uncanny ability to whine without even opening his mouth. The “man” has whiny EXPRESSIONS.
        Pretty sure the Isles have to “deal with” NYC media also.

      • nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        I don’t think “none of your business” is an over the top offensive thing to say to someone who’s asking you the same question over and over again. This is NYC, trust me those reporters hear A LOT worse walking down the street.

        As a native New Yorker, last time I checked the Islanders were from Long Island (Hence the name), not NYC.

      • dangle13x - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        You NY hockey fans are a joke.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      You never heard any other coach complain about it? LOL

    • nyrfan - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Explain how Tortarella’s complaining. He said this on a show with Bill Pedto and Mike Keenan called “Behind The Bench”. He’s protecting his players. When that player comes back to play after an injury to his knee, don’t you think the league is gonna attack that players knee. If its Rick Nash and he’s scored a goal on you you’re not gonna hit his shoulder or his groin. Torts is well within his rights, not disclosing injuries. Anything he says to the media is meaningless and if you’re a Ranger fan all you should care about is wins or losses. The rest is just you people nit picking. It’s none of your business.

      • jb8383 - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        If you see my comment above, I said that’s fine, don’t disclose the injuries of your players, he doesn’t have to, whatever. All coaches have to deal with this issue. You don’t hear anything about it from any other coach. He has to say all this stuff about the media and how it’s none of their business, etc. The media asks questions about everything, it’s their job. It’s his job to respond and he should conduct himself in a more professional manner, in general. I mean he was also suspended for fighting with fan in Washington. Come on, really? A professional NHL coach who throws a bottle at a fan…pathetic.

      • dangle13x - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        Torts is a great coach. But morons like you that look past his absolutely ridiculous antics are an embarassment.

      • dangle13x - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        “none of your business” hahaha what an asinine comment. Your as obnoxious as that prick behind the bench.

  6. zetaone - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    I agree it should be kept a secret to an extent. If you go blabbing that your star player injured his ‘X’ then it will go around the dressing room of the next team they play – “hey, you hear #73 injured his.. ‘x’ … yeah, go after him low/high.”

    I’m not saying opposing players would explicitly exploit the injury information and intentionally try to re-injure someone, but I wouldn’t put it past anyone.

  7. sjsharks66 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Its obviously staals eye… He did take a puck there. Its not a secret like the random lower body/upper body injuries.

  8. mattybo - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    You’re right, he actually has a title without an asterisk next to it.

    I have no issues with Torts on this stuff. The problem is he addresses it like an asshole but I see nothing wrong with not giving specifics. Obviously if an injury happens in games you can deduce the area that was hurt but why give details? If you have ever played a contact sport and know going into it your competitor is injured or soft in an area and expect no one to pay more attention to it you are living in a dream world. You think if a fighter just came off knee surgery that his/her opponent won’t go after that area? All contact sports are the same whether you like it or not and players will go to extremes to help their team gain an advantage. If you don’t think players hitting malkin and nash are putting on a little extra upstairs you are delusional. He is attempting to minimize stuff like that happening and coach, not win a popularity contest.

  9. nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I don’t think its so much worrying about the opposition targeting your guy. I think its more of an issue with the media bugging the hell out of your player while he’s trying to recover. It becomes a public debate and that puts pressure on the injured player to rush back.

    Also, when it comes to the concussion issue I think its a matter of stigma. If an unrestricted free agent is looking to get signed and the entire league knows he’s had a couple concussions some teams may be reluctant to give him a long term deal out of fear of another concussion. Publicly addressing concussions hurts players career opportunities….sad but true I’m sure.

    • dangle13x - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      Did you even try to make a point there?

      • nicknyhc - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        My point is players don’t want their head concussions and other serious injuries to be public information because it changes the way people look at their future/potential.

        Teams are gonna be less likely to give a big long term contract to a guy with 3 concussions than they would a guy who no reported history of concussions. Investing in a player with a history of serious injuries is risky business.

  10. stakex - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    There is no practicle reason for the media and the fans to know whats wrong with a player… and such information can (and is) used by opposing teams. Torts is in the right on this, and perhaps more teams should follow his lead. He could be a bit more polished about his objections when dealing with the media, but thats just not who he is… for better or for worse.

  11. sippindasyzurp - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    This would be wise for gambling purposes… Why do you think the NFL has mandatory injury reports? They will never admit it, but they know a lot of the revenue generated through TV comes from people who bet on the games.. NHL would be crazy to not adopt this rule.. Aren’t we all for trying to grow the game? No better way than pleasing the people who bet on the sport!

  12. anthonykornheiser - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    He get’s such a bad wrap.The media feeds off him, they know how he is and they can spin it in any fashion they want, He has no control over the media. If someone asked capuano about an injury to an islanders player and he said “none of your business” no one would care, they’d say he is protecting his players. Larry Brooks is a moron, he has written countless foolish articles and his beef with tortorella stems from the days of the devils and lightning series when he asked if they shot the puck at scott stevens head on purpose. Something that would be next to impossible.
    For those people not in the NY or tri state area, he has a show on MSG each week and is a nice guy. A lot of the time Mike keenan is on there with him. Both were/are intense coaches. A fan tweeted about the way he is with the media, and i liked his response, he said he isnt the most comfortable in interviews and hje said for him its extremely difficult to do interviews 10 mins after a game, he said he is still in game mode. win or lose he is pumped up and emotional and its hard to sit there and answer questions and just shut it off like a switch…i watch a lot of his interviews, the media does push his buttons too. It’s a much juicer story if they come off as idiots and he gets annoyed and they can post an article how he is being typical tortorella. PHT feeds off it too.
    If i was a pro athlete as well, i wouldnt want the media or anyone knowing my ailments, that becomes such a target in games.

  13. 5hole26 - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    new york sports is awful. the reporters could care less

  14. remosnozzberri82 - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    It all stems from Garden boss James dolan owner of both the knicks and Rangers. He despises the media. You’d think Glen Sather is cryogeniclly frozen under msg. No interviews unless granted by almighty guitar jimmy.

  15. yousuxxors - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    torts also brought that kid with cancer around with the team for him. i met him once in the city and he really is a nice guy. he just hates the media.

  16. LampyB - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Last time I checked the public and media pay the salaries and enable the league to exist. If this weren’t the case, by all means it’s personal business. Otherwise we should be able to find out whats going on, it’s a professional sport here…not an ailing old man.

    Tortorella can kiss my ass, he’s an arrogant prick toward those who fund his paycheck.

  17. ironman721 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM


  18. yalecheerleder - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Well Tort has got a point, its not that he is arrogant – he gets cross examined for everything? is there anything private!! it is up to the ENTIRE TEAM coach captain & more if they want to disclose such personal information! if they dont we just wish them best!!! & We hope for the best for our players who are injured in the League! in Hockey!
    Let’s keep money separate and really look at the personal privacy!! LADY RANGER!!!

  19. pwilson264 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    what was that line in dirty harry, i got’s to know.

  20. banggbiskit - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    maybe the NFL ought to hide their injury reports? Oh wait, nevermind, then the gamblers wouldnt be able to make accurate spreads.

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