Torts apologizes for Classic officiating criticism
New York Rangers coach John Tortorella apologized Wednesday for his negative comments about the refereeing in Monday's Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth," Tortorella told reporters following Wednesday's Rangers practice in Greenburgh, N.Y.
Despite the apology, the NHL announced later Wednesday that Tortorella had been fined for his comments.
"There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League, its officials or its broadcast partners," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. “People can disagree with calls by officials on the ice, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Tortorella did.
Following the Rangers' 3-2 win at Citizens Bank Park, which was televised nationally on NBC, Tortorella expressed displeasure about a series of calls during the third period with the Rangers protecting a one-goal lead.
"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said. "They're two good referees (Ian Walsh and Dennis LaRue), but I thought that game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they wanted to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they had meetings about that or what. … I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."
Tortorella told reporters Wednesday that those comments were meant to be tongue-in-cheek. "Using the word disgusting was not the proper way to go about it," Tortorella said. "I was wrong there."