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Rangers Coach John Tortorella Gets Taste Of Own Medicine

John Tortorella looks displeased. What else is new?

John Tortorella looks displeased. What else is new?

The NHL isn’t known for being warm and fuzzy. It’s the only professional sport that still encourages fighting except professional fighting. Almost every player in the league is missing at least one tooth, although most are missing far more.

Penalties are usually given in two minute increments, unless blood is drawn, in which case that doubles. Not that getting extra penalty minutes is a reward, but the fact that the distinction needs to be made at all says something.

The point here simply being that hockey isn’t nice. Many of the players are downright mean and some of the coaches are even meaner. And, mirror mirror on the wall, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is the meanest one of all.

Seriously, that is no joke.

Tortorella isn’t just professional hockey mean either. He’s like mean girls in a prison gang mean—but with an intimidating beard. Even if you don’t know him personally, it’s safe to assume he already hates you anyway. So just keep your distance if you see him on the streets on New York.

With the exception of Henrik Lundqvist, their sexy Swedish Vezina Trophy winning goaltender, the Rangers biggest star may very well be their notoriously cantankerous head coach. Tort’s hostility behind the bench is one thing, but he usually saves the really good stuff for the media.

Which is hilarious, because the New York sports media, famously nasty themselves, seem to absolutely delight in his unending degradation of them. Apparently they’re sadists and masochists. Tort’s post game press conferences range from cold and curt to slightly less curt and dripping with contempt.

You know he hates you and he's trying not to say it out loud.

You know he hates you and he’s trying not to say it out loud.

His expression usually says “I hate you.” Those wrinkles on his forward say “You make me more miserable than watching graphic documentaries about genocide.” And his mouth, which is always just slightly downturned when he’s not screaming, says “I’m trying not to scream at you and it hurts.”

Tortorella’s way with the media is reminiscent of an angry honey badger having to first recover from the near death experience of ingesting the poison of a venomous snake before later waking up to enjoy the spoils of victory. Perhaps he celebrates at home by kicking puppies?

Kidding! He actually owns a dog, so he can’t be the meanest person on earth.

Despite his…sometimes unpleasant demeanor…with the New York media, Tortorella has been treated quite favorably by them in recent years. (Example 1, Example 2) Probably because most coaches are basically muppets reciting canned talking points. Being verbally abused and dismissed is actually a nice change of pace.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Although, until recently, Tort’s has been the one dishing out all the vitriol—hurling it out and letting it rain down on anyone within striking distance. In the last few days, however, the tables have been turning on Tortorella.

During Game 4 of the Rangers semifinal series against the Boston Bruins, he was pulling his usual junkyard dog act on the officials during a timeout in the third period. Instead of taking it on the chin, the linesman spat back at Tortorella, telling him to can it and dropping at least one F-bomb in the process.

The exchange was actually aired live during the broadcast, making it all the more amazing. That video is certainly worth a watch, assuming you don’t have little baby ears and can handle a little explicit language. Which, I trust, you can.

Also giving it back to Tortorella now? Rangers fans. According to a poll done by the NY Daily News, 71 percent of Rangers fans were ready to kick the coach to the curb after being ousted by the Boston Bruins in fives games of the Eastern Conferences semifinals in 2013.

If ownership agrees, Rangers fans might not miss Tort’s…but the media sure will.

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