Steve Zipay is an award-winning journalist who has covered events from Super Bowls to World Series and issues
With a $20,000 fine on Friday for post-game comments on Brooks Orpik's knee-to-knee hit on Derek Stepan, whining stars and the "arrogant" Penguins organization, Rangers coach John Tortorella is out $50,000 in the last four months. He also was slammed $30,000 for his flippant remarks after the Winter Classic alleging some unspecified alliance between the referees and NBC for wanting the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Flyers to go to overtime.
"It's a cheap, dirty hit," Tortorella said Thursday. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to one of their two whining stars over there. I'm anxious to see what happens with the league. Just no respect amongst players. It's sickening. It's one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They complain about this stuff all the time and look what happens. It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they, starting with their two ---- stars."
On Monday, Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube told Comcast SportsNet: "Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team. They slash, they punch guys in the face, they do all these little things."
A late-game brawl in late Saturday's 6-4 Flyers win was triggered in part by a cross-check from Brayden Schenn. "If someone runs [Crosby] over, that's great; they should run him over. This guy gets away with too much. He whines to the refs all day and all night. It's a joke. Not like it was a tough, bad cross-check; the guy dove."
After that game, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was fined $10,000 for climbing on the bench "to engage in a verbal altercation." Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato, same infraction: $2,500. A fine for Berube? Nope. There's some disconnect here, or a double-standard.
Edmonton coach Tom Renney, following an April 2 loss against the Los Angeles Kings, asked why the Oilers drew so few penalties, mused: "I'm not sure [why]. Maybe [they] need Hollywood in the playoffs." Bang. $10,000.
Back in February 2011, the Islanders were fined $100,000 for "failure to control their players" in a fight-filled win over, guess who, the Penguins, who had no dough lifted from their wallets, even after Penguins owner Mario Lemieux complained: "The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed."
In Pittsburgh on Friday, Crosby called Tortorella's comments "garbage" and said it was designed to influence the officiating. Penguins coach Dan Byslma called it "gamesmanship . . . We've heard different things, from hits, starting lineups to how referees end games. It's part of his [Tortorella's] coaching manual to go off there." Fines? Nope.
Rangers with serious shots at NHL post season prizes:
The Vezina Trophy (top goaltender): It's a two-horse race between Henrik Lundqvist, (1.93 GAA, .931 save percentage, 39 wins, eight shutouts) and LA's Jonathan Quick (1.93, .929. 35 wins, 10 shutouts).
Rangers 4, Penguins 3, Nov. 29 at MSG. Richards, Gaborik, Callahan and Mitchell score to improve team's record to 13-5-3.
Rangers 3, Flyers 2, Jan. 2 in Philadelphia. The Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park. Lundqvist later calls it the highlight of the season.
Rangers, 3, Bruins 2, Jan. 21 in Boston. Battle between Nos. 1 and 2 in East. Gaborik scores winner in OT. Lundqvist makes 32 saves.
Rangers 5, Flyers 2, Feb. 11 in Philadelphia. Callahan has hat trick in second win of four-game streak.
Rangers 3, Sabres 2, Feb. 25 at MSG. Callahan scores winner in OT. Rangers are 39-15-6.
Rangers 4, Islanders 3, March 11 at MSG. Halts three-game losing streak, Richards scores two power-play goals, Gaborik the winner in OT. Rangers 4, Devils 2, March 19 at MSG. Win stops two-game losing streak. Mats Zuccarello scores winner on power play.
Rangers 4, Jets 2, March 28 in Winnipeg. In tough back-to-back after winning in Minnesota, Rangers sweep three-game road trip.
Rangers 5, Flyers 3, April 3 in Philadelphia. A four-goal first helps clinch the No. 1 seed in the East.