Blog Entry

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:19 pm

By Brian Stubits

You knew it was only a matter of time before John Tortorella would apologize for his remarks regarding the officiating in the Winter Classic. Either that or face a fine (or both, which is still entirely possible).

Following the Rangers' 3-2 win at Citizen's Bank Park, Tortorella was asked about the officiating at the end of the game. He went on to joke -- at least that was my impression there -- that NBC and the NHL were conspiring to take the game into overtime. He went on to call the officiating disgusting. Of course that perked some ears in the NHL offices.

Well on Wednesday Tortorella began the backtracking, explaining in his apology that he said his comments re: NBC were tongue-in-cheek but understands they might not have come across that way. Here is his apology from the Rangers' website.

"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 explained. "Not for a second in no way, time, shape, or form did I think anything like that [fixing the game so that it goes to overtime] goes on within our league, or ever will."

Tortorella added that his comments regarding the referees meeting with NBC to conspire at having the Winter Classic go to overtime were completely "tongue-in-cheek." "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 was wrong with my sarcasm and my frustration and I apologize to everyone involved.

"I tainted the Classic with my mouth," Tortorella said.

In his apology, Tortorella explained that he went so far as to call everybody he could think of to apologize to, including Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Tortorella has apologized to just about everybody, except the referees who he did call good referees before criticizing them on Monday. He's saving those apologies for in-person.

I don't know Tortorella very well in the coach-reporter sense, but I've had the chance to be around him and see him in the locker room after a few recent games. He has a gruff exterior to be sure, but he has a sincerity to him. I respect the fact that he's taking his apology as far as he is, including apologizing to the officials in person.

With that said, you can't criticize league officials, jokingly or not. Behind every joke lies some truth, so they say. The over-the-top part about the conspiracy was obviously the joke, but his criticism of the officials still had some seriousness to it.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Apr 7, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:31 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

I still have no beef with the penalty shot as I thought the d-man covered it, not the goalie, but all in all the refs were embarrassing. The interference call and the call on Callahan should be questioned and maybe the refs should explain some of those calls. They should be fined for being bad!

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:57 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

. . .I mean, a sore loser is bad enough, but a sore winner is intolerable.

Your team won the game, John.  Congratulations to them, if not to you.  In the future, leave well enough alone, and make your complaints about the officiating through channels rather than in public.  (As if you didn't already know that.)

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:43 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

But apparently that's not true, according to the rest of the article. It says he did NOT apologize to the officials, and that he has AVOIDED doing so--only that he plans to some day if he ever runs into them. And who knows when that will ever be?

The SOB should be apologizing directly to the officials NOW--whether by phone call, letter, e-mail, smoke signal, or whatever--not at some vague and indefinite time in the future. If he's refusing to, that in iteslef speaks volumes.

You'll also notice, if I read it right, that he did not apologize to anyone for saying that the game was officiated horribly (whether or not dishonestly).  I'm sure the league office has noticed that, too.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:05 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

he's tainted many things with his mouth, including Theo Fleury, you know what Torts likes

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:51 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

Referee's make bad calls all the time, depending on which team you are rooting for.  I think Briere knew that the penalty shot call was bogus, as he looked like he was skating in mud heading towards the net.

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:49 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

I think everyone who responded with remarks about the game should apoligize and they should no longer be able to voice their opinion.
All the press should not be allowed to criticise any player or coach or any plays made or not made during the coarse of a game. I guess that would leave us nothing to comment on or write about.

It really stinks that nobody can speak their mind. I can see if he used profane language or insulted them but the real insult is to all of us (the fans).
Mr. Bettman is the one who should be apoligizing.   

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:28 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

I'm glad he apoligized... it will put this instance to rest... But I stick by what I said yesterday... The officiating(which includes the NHL league office) has had a negative bias against the NYR for as long as i can remember. It might be distastful for some, but there is something to it. The videotape exists for your viewing displeasure( Ranger fans). 

Since: Feb 19, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:02 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

The Avs are the youngest 25.77 per team website....

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:49 pm

Tortorella: I tainted the Classic with my mouth

it`s just wrong that you cant speak your mind  without fear of suspension or a fine , i would rather hear what the coach really thinks than the bs u always seem to get...if the league dont like it then get the reporters out of the players and coaches face

Since: Jan 4, 2012
Posted on: January 4, 2012 6:16 pm
This comment has been removed.

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