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Tortorella: ‘Don’t give me any [expletive]’ about Gaborik relationship

Apr 30, 2013, 1:09 PM EDT

John Tortorella AP

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.”

This latest rant stems from the trade that sent Gaborik to Columbus in exchange for Derick Brassard, John Moore and Derek Dorsett.

Tortorella’s upset his endorsement of the deal is being portrayed as a shot at Gaborik:

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.

From the New York Times:

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 “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.

  1. hockeywithdrawal - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    What an [expletive].

  2. biffnasty - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Coach of the Year

  3. tfaltin - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    There are a number of reasons to dislike Torts (I’m a NYR fan who is nearly ready to see him cut loose) but I think his intentions are fine here. Yes, he doesn’t like the media. If I were him I’d feel the same way. In this case, saying they had a bad relationship insinuates that Gaborik was defensively irresponsible, or hard to coach, or even lazy. By saying that he “respects and misses” him, Torts makes it about the on the ice product, and away from a personal critique. JT isn’t one to mince his words, he’s one of the few people in sports who you can believe, and I do. Remember, Torts really defended Gaborik after the Devils series last year when the media was after him.

    • thetrusammael - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Are you kidding? Torts is a hyprocite. He was from day 1 with the team…

      Anyone recall when he said “If Hank (Henrik) is the star of the game, we are not doing our job out there.” Anyone remember when he benched Sean Avery against the Caps for taking a late penalty, and ends up getting himself suspended for swinging a stick at a fan?

      I can’t stand Torts. He makes no sense. The only thing I will give him any credit for is that he held Redden responsible for being no where near the player they needed him to be and getting him out of town.

      You can’t trust a word that comes out of this guy’s mouth.

      • tfaltin - Apr 30, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        What’s hypocritical about saying if Hank is the star of the game, we are not doing our job? If Hanks the star of the game, then the other team probably has the puck and is shooting. If the other team is shooting, then the defense isn’t outletting the puck well, or the wings are flying the zone, or the center isn’t an available option, or the forecheck is ineffective, or there is no cycling game at the other end. If all of those areas are malfunctioning, then its on the skaters up front, and the goalie is going to have to be the star.

  4. President Charles Logan - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    tired act … *yawns*

  5. jb8383 - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    classy as usual

  6. steelpenbucs87 - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    My word, he is as petulant as they come.

  7. purpleguy - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    You have to admit Gaborik doesn’t play defense — he used to drive J. Lamierre nuts with the Wild.

  8. barkar942 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    I remember in the 70’s or 80’s, there was a Life Savers commercial. It was about a young boy who had just lost the big baseball game. Then the father pipes up and says ” When I lost the big game, my father gave me a Life Saver to make me feel better.” The dad then proceeds to hand is son a Life Saver.
    Some people see two generations of compassion.
    Some people see “It’s ok to lose, as long as you try”.
    You know what I see? Two generations of losers preparing to create a third.
    I am sure Torts sees the same.
    When your children are misbehaving, you have two options-
    coddle them and hope that they will understand what they did that was wrong, or hit them where it hurts so they will equate pain with their mistake.
    Torts gives players a chance to redeem themselves, and when they continue to make the same mistakes, he hits them where it hurts- ice time.
    I knew when Gilroy took the second penalty in the Ottawa game, he was done for the night. I am sure that Torts probably likes Matt, but his job is to perform a certain way, and he was not so he was benched.
    It appears that the media today feels it has the right to dictate their beliefs of left wing, bleeding heart liberalism which wants everyone to be treated with coddling.
    Survival of the fittest and only the strong survive.
    All of this coddling is doing nothing for anyone except perpetuating meritocracy throughout the human race.
    Torts doesn’t coddle and he doesn’t accept mediocrity.
    He also doesn’t accept the media dictating what he does. He called you out for it.
    Need some ice for that burn, media members?
    I even found some respect for Bryz yesterday for calling out the media for their relentless harping on him.
    What ever happened to honest and fair reporting and media members with knowledge covering events?
    Oh, that’s right. The only thing that sells today is sensationalism and hype.

    • adge84 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      I really enjoyed this comment and couldn’t agree more. Players should be benched for repeatedly making the same mistakes and I’m happy Torts does it. Stop coddling the athletes they make millions upon millions of dollars to perform and should be reprimanded when they don’t do so. Try and make the same mistakes over and over again in your regular day to day jobs and see how quickly you get fired. Why should these athletes being paid millions be treated any differently. The problem with Torts isn’t his mindset it’s his game plan. He needs to put some solid lines together and not be so quick to constantly change them up. Let the players get some chemistry together instead of switching the lines every single game. He finally let some guys play together consistently at the end of the season and look at the run the Rangers made. I like the way Torts handles himself, I just feel he needs to modernize his game plan to the new NHL. Dump and chase hockey is not as effective as it used to be. The players are far to quick.

    • tfaltin - Apr 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      I agree with 80% of this comment. I’m completely on board with holding players accountable. Like you said, we’re held accountable in our professions so why should athletes get a free pass?

      Just wish you didn’t have to politicize it, as you point out that that you blame the left wing liberal media and close with a critique of sensationalized media. Sounds like hemispatial neglect, where you can only see one side of an object. Others afflicted: Karl Rove in Cuyahoga County.

  9. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I love when Torts has a meltdown/rant on people. It’s very entertaining

  10. cameltoews - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Well put

  11. tomahawk12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    The only time this guy makes the news is due to another whining, ranting, or simply being a jerk incident. I hope the Caps take him out quickly. One reason is so he is gone this year, and secondly, to see who he whines/cries about on the Caps team or officials who surely wronged him and/or the Rangers. If he does somehow make it past the Caps, I can only hope his friends the Pens have a shot at him. Very miserable unhappy guy.

  12. jhuck92 - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Brooksie is behind this somehow, I just know it

  13. csilojohnson - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    tfaltin, Couldnt agree more. Couldn’t have put it better either.
    Took the words off my fingers, and added some substance.

  14. jdrew506 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Coach of the year????? Now that’s the funniest (expletive) I have heard out of Biff all season.

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