Rangers coach apologizes for post-Winter Classic remarks

Rangers coach John Tortorella apologized today for comments his made about the officials and NBC in the aftermath of his team's 3-2 win over the Flyers in the Winter Classic.

"I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth, and I shouldn’t have, so I apologize to everyone involved,”" Tortorella told reporters today, according to the New York Daily News.

After the game, Tortorella questioned a series of calls during the third period with the Rangers ahead by a goal.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said. "They're two good referees (Ian Walsh and Dennis LaRue), but I thought that game was reffed horribly. I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they wanted to get it to an overtime. I'm not sure if they had meetings about that or what. … I just thought tonight, in that third period, it was disgusting."

Tortorella said he has spoken several times with NHL vice president Colin Campbell since the game. He is expected to receive a heavy fine, despite his apology, according to reports.

“First of all, using the word disgusting wasn’t the proper way to go about it, talking about Denis and Ian. I was wrong there,” Tortorella said. “Second of all, my tongue-in-cheek comments regarding NBC, the league, the refs, and as far as what has come about here, people thinking ‘Was it fixed” Are you trying to get to overtime?’ That type of thinking was not even in mind.

“They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time that turned this into…It was frustration on my part, as far as the referees were concerned and how it was done at the end of the game.”

In another apology during his meeting with reporters, Tortorella went on to say: 

“Please, I want to get that straightened out, not for a second, in no way, time, shape or form did I think anything like that goes on with our league, or ever will,” Tortorella said. “For me to question the integrity of our league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of Denis and Ian, the Philadelphia Flyers, there’s not a chance I’m thinking that way.

“It was wrong, with my sarcasm, with my frustration, and I apologize to everybody involved.

“That was not my intent. I was unemotional during that press conference, I was frustrated with what went on and I certainly handled it the wrong way. Especially to the two refs, to Denis and Ian, I’ve known them a long time and they do a great job. It’s one of the toughest jobs in the game. For me to put them under a microscope in that type of setting, at the Classic, was wrong…I regret it and I apologize.”