John Tortorella is paying the piper---big time.

The Rangers coach was fined $30,000 by the NHL following his sharp criticism of the officiating and hinting of a conspiracy following the Winter Classic, which the Rangers won, 3-2. But, in fact, there were questionable calls in the final period that frustrated Tortorella. He apologized to everyone involved earlier today and said he was out of line for "tainting" the Classic.

The league issued a statement confirming the fine tonight, but did not publicly reveal the amount. A league executive familiar with the situation confirmed reports that the amount was $30,000.

“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the league, its officials or its broadcast partners,” N.H.L. senior vice president Colin Campbell said in the 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.”

Tortorella is somewhat of a repeat offender. In 2007, after a loss to Atlanta, Tortorella---then coaching Tampa Bay---was fined $10,000 by the NHL for comments he made critiquing the officials. He also was fined $1,000 for criticizing a referee in a Lightning-Flyers game in 2002.

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