Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NHL Fines Rangers Tortorella 30K

The National Hockey League sent a large message in response to the post game  comments of New York Rangers coach John Tortorella levying a $30K fine. Tortorella has since apologized for his statements claiming he was being sarcastic, but the league certainly didn't see the humor in it.

That Tortorella was fined for questioning the integrity of the officials and even the league is not surprising, but the amount is higher than many expected. The league was definitely looking to send a message here to anyone thinking of making similar comments and the level will definitely make that message known.

Tortorella Apologizes For Winter Classic Conspiracy Comments

Following Monday's Winter Classic Rangers coach John Tortorella's comments suggested that the league and officials were conspiring to get the game to overtime.  On Wednesday, in his first public comments since the, Tortorella was singing a completely different tune via Blueshirts United.
"They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees...and what was done at the end of the game," explained Tortorella. "Not for a second in no way, time, shape, or form did I think anything like that (fixing the game so that it goes to overtime) goes on with our league, or ever will."

"For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of (referees) Denny (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh), the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here---there's not a chance I am thinking that way," Tortorella continued. "It was wrong with my sarcasm and my frustration and I apologize to everyone involved." 
"I tainted the Classic with my mouth," Tortorella said.
Glad to see that Tortorella was willing to admit his error in publicly stating that there was an attempt to fix the game for a certain outcome.  Criticizing bad calls is something that many do, but this went to a different level and apologizing for it was the right move.  Tortorella will still get fined for his original comments.

Biron To Start Against Panthers?; Practice Line Combinations

The New York Rangers will face the Florida Panthers tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden before heading to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins on Friday.  The back-to-back games and the Rangers looking to get Henrik Lundqvist as much rest as possible makes this a prime spot for Martin Biron to get a start.  According to Andrew Gross Biron was the first one off the ice at practice today which typically is a sign that he will in fact play tomorrow against the Panthers.

Playing Biron against the Panthers and giving Lundqvist three days off before facing the Penguins on the road is a smart move for the coaching staff. All points are extremely important, but there is always an added significance to divisional games because of the direct swing in the standings making each game a virtual four-point matchup.  Getting Biron right back in there after he struggled against the Capitals last Wednesday is also a good move to keep his confidence up.  The Rangers need Biron because no matter how good Lundqvist has been the Rangers are not in first place without the 7-2 contributions of their back-up. 

Other practice news revolved around the line combinations:
Hagelin-Boyle-Fedotenko (Wolski)
Rupp-Mitchell-Prust (Christensen)

Dubinsky has earned his promotion back to the top six with his recent play.  Hagelin and Boyle have worked very well together and pairing them with Fedotenko will not hurt anything.  The fourth line certainly worked during the Winter Classic as they combined for two goals and four assists.  

Interesting to see Wolski working with the Boyle line, which could mean he will slot in there when he is fully ready to go or it could just mean that with Christensen here as well they needed someone for Wolski to work.