Rangers coach John Tortorella appeared unapologetically critical of the officiating after his team beat the Flyers, 3-2, in Monday’s Winter Classic. He called the handling of the third period “disgusting,” even suggesting NBC might have engineered a conspiracy to force overtime in the game.
Today, however, Tortorella backtracked and expressed regret for the harsh words he chose in the heat of the moment.
“I tainted the Classic with my mouth,” said Tortorella, according to the New York Times. “It was wrong with my sarcasm and frustration, and I apologize to everyone involved.”
Tortorella said that he’s already apologized for his remarks to several league executives, including NHL senior VP Colin Campbell and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, and would like to apologize to the referees in person.
They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part,” he said. “Not for a second, in 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 [officials Ian Walsh and Dennis Larue], the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here — there’s not a chance I am thinking that way.”
Update: Tortorella has been fined $30,000 for his actions, according to ESPN.