Apr 30, 2013, 1:09 PM EDT
Rangers head coach John Tortorella isn’t happy about how his relationship with Marian Gaborik is being portrayed.
On Tuesday, he decided to address the issue.
“Don’t give me any [expletive] about my relationship with Gabby,” he told reporters at the end of his media availability. “Because it’s wrong and unfair to both of us.”
Tortorella’s upset his endorsement of the deal is being portrayed as a shot at Gaborik:
Torts ends his presser saying that just because he likes the trade deadline deal isn’t a cut at Gaborik, blames media for saying it is
— Pat Leonard (@NYDNRangers) April 30, 2013
Torts once again chastises media for misrepresenting his good relationship with Marian Gaborik. Says it’s not fair to him or to Gabby.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) April 30, 2013
Gaborik was slumping at the time of the deal — just nine goals in 35 games with a minus-8 rating — and seemed to be at odds with his head coach.
Of course, acrimony between Gaborik and Tortorella was nothing new.
Gaborik was often benched by Coach John Tortorella or relegated to the third line. He and Tortorella had an up-and-down relationship, with Tortorella expressing deep frustration with Gaborik or praising him lavishly.
Soon after joining the Rangers during the 2008-9 season, Tortorella lobbied to sign Gaborik as a free agent. Glen Sather, the club’s president and general manager, accomplished that before the 2009-10 season.
But last season, with the Rangers trailing by a goal during the third period of Game 2 of the conference finals against the Devils, Tortorella benched Gaborik for making a defensive error.
“On the second goal, I didn’t get the puck out, I guess,” Gaborik said. “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.”
The move to Columbus seemed to invigorate Gaborik, further fueling speculation he was unhappy under Torts. The Slovak sniper had eight points in 12 games with the Blue Jackets, posting a plus-five rating.
That said, Tortorella has stated on numerous occasions that he not only respected and liked Gaborik, but that he would miss him as well.
“Gabby and I have a great relationship,” he told NHL.com. “It’s a really good one, no matter what’s gone on with him. He’s a good man. And I’ll miss him.
“I’ll tell you right now – I’ll miss him.”
In a related story, the Rangers will open the playoffs on Thursday against the Capitals.
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