NEW YORK (WFAN) - Even before their players engaged in fisticuffs on the ice, Rangers' head coach John Tortorella and Devils' head Peter DeBoer had a heated exchange between the two benches before the puck dropped last night.
Tortorella appeared to take offense to DeBoer putting three fighters out on the ice to begin the game and leaned over toward the Devils' bench and began shouting at the DeBoer. The Rangers' coach then decided to change his opening forward lines and countered with three fighters of his own.
What ensued next could have been mistaken for scenes from the famous hockey-goon movie 'Slap Shot.' Three simultaneous fights broke out as the puck dropped and blood splattered over the Madison Square Garden ice.
The real fight might not be developing on the ice but between the two coaches. DeBoer called Tortorella a 'hypocrite' during his post-game press conference and accused the Rangers' coach of employing double-standards.
"I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same in here. He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite. It's one or the other," DeBoer stated post-game.
Tortorella knew exactly what he was doing when he sent out rugged defenseman Stu Bickel to take the opening face-off. Bickel took on Ryan Carter while Brandon Prust exchanged blows with Cam Janssen and Mike Rupp fought with Eric Boulton.
When asked post-game about the incident, Tortorella appeared to distance himself. "It's none of my business, I don't coach that team. I do what I have to do with my team. I don't coach his team so it's none of my business," he stated.
Tortorella changed his tune when he spoke in front the media on Tuesday. He spoke to Andrew Gross of The Record.
"I think Peter needs to job his memory as far as the starting lineups that I've put in over in their building and really, basically, just shut up. And I need to also. I think the situation last night is disrespectful to players and I think we took a backwards step," he detailed.
Tortorella continued, "I get put in a position when he puts a lineup like that out - and I'm not sure what's going to happen if I put my top players out - so I have to answer the way I need to answer. Really, just look at the two lineups and some of the things he's done through the games here, again, I don't want to coach his team, but just shut up."
It appears that Tortorella believed that he had to respond to DeBoer's lineup but others including DeBoer have painted Tortorella as a hypocrite.
Is Tortorella a hypocrite? Whose side are you taking? Share your thoughts below...
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