Rangers coach John Tortorella, who is expected to be fined later today by the league for his disparaging comments in the post-game on Monday, told the assembled media after practice this afternoon:
“I just want to get it straightened out. Regarding after the Winter Classic, the game and my press conference, first of all using the word ‘disgusting’ I don’t think was the proper way to go about it as far as talking about (referees) Dennis (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh) so I was wrong there. I was wrong there. Second of all, my tongue-in-cheek comments regarding NBC, the league, the refs as far as what’s come about here, people thinking was it fixed, are you trying to get it to overtime or that type of thinking, that was not even in my mind. They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time. It’s frustration on my part as far as the referees were concerned and how it was done at the end of the game. So please, I want to get that straight. Not for a second, no way, time, shape or form, did I think anything like that goes on with our league, or ever will. For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of Dennis and Ian, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Rangers, go right down through all the people here, there’s not a chance I’m thinking that way. It was wrong with my sarcasm, with my frustration and I apologize to everybody involved. I want to make sure that’s straight that that was not my intent. I was unemotional during that press conference, I was frustrated with what went on and I certainly handled it the wrong way. Especially to the two refs, to Dennis and Ian, I’ve known them for a long time, they do a great job, it’s one of the toughest jobs in the game. For me to put them under a microscope in that type of setting, at the Classic, was wrong. I tainted the Classic with my mouth and I shouldn’t have so I apologize to everybody involved.
“I’ve had conversations with Colie (NHL exec Colin Campbell) on a number of things regarding this, yes. But have I talked to Dennis or Ian? I’m not going to do it on the phone, I’m going to do it face to face.
“Colie and I have had conversations yesterday and will continue today.
“Because I knew it was tongue in cheek in my mind, and the people that were there, at least, I thought they felt the same thing, no, I regret it but I don’t think it was going to turn into something like this. But it bothers me that I’m using the word ‘disgusting’ with the two guys because I really thought they reffed a good game. I had frustrations at the end and that’s what came out there. I’ve talked to everybody I can, including Paul Holmgren with the Flyers. That was a first-class operation, that Winter Classic and I screwed up with my mouth at the end and I regret and I apologized to the people all involved with that.”