“They called a penalty shot, which I still don’t understand,” he said Monday. “I’m not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game. I thought the game was reffed horrible. I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting.”
Two days later, the fiery coach of the Blueshirts was backtracking and claiming he was being sarcastic.
Torts apologized on Wednesday. “I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth and I shouldn’t have,” he said. “So I apologize to everyone involved.”
Tortorella claimed that he called various league officials and team reps to apologize as well, but that didn’t stop the NHL from lowering the boom with the fine.
“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League, its officials or its broadcast partners,” said Colin Campbell, the NHL vice-president of hockey operations. “People can disagree with calls by officials on the ice, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Tortorella did.”
According to Tortorella’s comments, officials made the call that led to the Danny Briere penalty shot because of some conspiracy between NBC and the league. But that wasn’t his intent, said the coach.
“It was frustration on my part as far as the referees were concerned and how it was done at the end of the game. I want to get that straight,” Tortorella said. “Not for a second, no way, time, shape or form did I think anything like that goes on with our league. Or ever will.”