New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer had some harsh words for John Tortorella following Monday’s line brawl at MSG. He called the New York bench boss a “hypocrite” that might’ve had “short-term memory loss” for objecting to DeBoer starting all his tough guys.
Today, Tortorella offered a blunt response:
“I think Peter needs to jog his memory, as far as the starting lineups that I’ve put in in his building,” Tortorella told ESPN New York (the last time they played in New Jersey, the Rangers started Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik).
“And really, basically just shut up. And I need to also.”
Despite stressing the need to shut up, Tortorella wasn’t done talking.
“I think the situation last night was disrespectful to players, and I think we took a backwards step,” he continued. “I get put into a position when he puts a lineup out, that 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.
“Just look at the two lineups and some of the things he’s done through the games here. I don’t want to coach his team here, but just shut up.”
DeBoer opened last night’s contest with Eric Boulton, Ryan Carter and Cam Janssen up front -- combined, they’ve fought 22 times this year -- a response to the lineup Tortorella started on Dec. 20 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. In that game, a 4-1 Rangers win, Torts started both Mike Rupp and Brandon Prust with Rupp and Janssen fighting three seconds into the first period.
That said, the Rangers head coach made it clear he doesn’t enjoy staged fights.
“Fighting’s part of the game, it’s a big part of the game, but it doesn’t need to be manufactured,” Tortorella said. “In that type of game -- Jersey and the Rangers -- there was going to be fights, but it’s really gotten old for me, the staged fights.
“That crap at the beginning of the game, to try to manipulate it into it, I just don’t think it’s right for the game. I think there’s enough of it and there always will be and there should be, but let the players decide.”