Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Even after his team won the Winter Classic in Philadelphia, Rangers head coach John Tortorella had some choice words for the referees and the NHL.
I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs or what to turn this into an overtime game. For two good refs, I thought the game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they wanted to get into overtime. I'm not sure if they had meetings about that or what. But we stood in there. I don't want to ... because they are good guys. I just thought it was, in that third period, it was disgusting.
Tortorella had a point (the Rangers were penalized three times in the last five minutes of the game), but the NHL is not going to allow its coaches to make those kinds of sweeping accusations.
To nobody's surprise, the NHL handed down a $30,000 fine to Tortorella on Thursday.
There's no way to quantify what effect, positive or negative, that this distraction will have on the New York locker room, but there's no doubt it'll have an impact in another locker room down the hall—the one with the striped jerseys hanging on the wall.
I don't mean to insinuate that officials will purposefully call games differently as a result of Tortorella's comments, but every official in the league must have been infuriated that he'd call their collective integrity into question.
When your job is to make split-second judgements on one of the fastest-paced sports in the world, those sorts of memories can come into play without any conscious realization.
So far, the Rangers have spent the ninth-least amount of time on the penalty kill among all NHL teams. They are one of only 12 teams to spend more time on the power play than the penalty kill.
As a result of his speech, Tortorella's team can plan on spending more time on the penalty kill over the remainder of the season. It may not be significant, but even one or two calls going the other way can certainly make an impact.