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NHL Playoffs: Quote: John Tortorella on Retaliation

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 30: Head coach John Tortorella of the New York Rangers during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 30, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Rangers 3-2.   (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
New York Hockey DailyContributor IApril 25, 2010

It’s not secret that Rangers head coach John Tortorella is a touchy guy and one of the things that seemed to get to him was players taking penalties even on occasion that it might be warranted.

There was one incident on April 7 involving Brandon Dubinsky retaliating because of a questionable hit on Marian Gaborik . After the game it wasn’t quite clear that Dubinsky wasn’t in Tortorella’s dog house. Well Tortorella discussed the incident with Larry Brooks of the NY Post , of all people, and here is what he said:

“I’ll tell you unequivocally that Dubi did the right thing there because we cannot have our best player be a target the way Gabby was in that situation,” said Tortorella, who will join general manager Glen Sather and hockey department personnel for organizational meetings this week at La Quinta, Calif. “When I was asked right after the game what I thought, I hadn’t gotten a good look at the hit when it happened and I hadn’t seen it on tape.

“I was making the point that I don’t want our league to be a soft league where players can’t take clean, hard hits without continuing to play, and it was probably bad timing on my part, because after seeing on tape what Finger had done, there is no doubt in my mind that Dubi should have jumped in.

“Not only Dubi there for Gabby, but any situation where one of our players is taken advantage of, that must be addressed right away. That’s part of the team concept and camaraderie we’re trying to put together here.”

On possible misunderstandings of where the coach stood on good penalties or bad penalties : “I don’t think I was misunderstood, because there were different times during the year when the situation was addressed,” Tortorella said. “But to be clear, the extra penalty that Dubi got in that situation against Toronto, that’s the type of penalty you kill off.

“Our players are going to look after each other. That’s the kind of team I want and that’s the type of team we’ll have. We’re going to protect one another. We will not allow our top players to be targets.”

Thoughts : It is really hard to gauge Tortorella sometimes. He comes off very stern to the media because of what appears to be a real distaste for some of them and you’d think that he isn’t that way with his players. But we really have no idea how he is with his players behind closed doors because he seems to handle them, at least publicly, the same way he handles the media.

Although there has to be another side of Torts. Right? As long as there is, and he’s already expressed what he told Brooks here to them earlier in the season, then there is no problem here. But thanks for clearing things up for the rest of us.

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