John Tortorella had plenty to be upset about after the New York Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday. It was an ugly defeat, and with it, the Rangers made it possible for the Vancouver Canucks to take over 1st in the NHL with just a game remaining in the regular season.
But Tortorella was especially upset about a knee-on-knee hit to Derek Stepan delivered by Penguins' blueliner Brooks Orpik in the game's final five minutes:
Did Orpik hang the knee? Tortorella certainly thought so. When asked about the collision in the postgame presser, Tortorella went off on both the hit, the Penguins' organization in general, and their stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (though not by name).
"It's a cheap, dirty hit. I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there. I wonder what would happen. So I'm anxious to see what happens with the League over this. Just no respect among players. None. It's sickening."
"It's one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time, and look what happens."
"It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they, starting with their two (expletive) stars."
Thank God he was wearing his stretchy purple shorts before Hulking out.
Sadly, no one in the presser had the audacity to ask the follow-up question this tirade deserved: You mad, coach?
Not that he ever needs one, but Tortorella has cause to be agitated. There was no word on Stepan's status after the game. Stepan, a centre, is a major contributor to the Rangers' attack, and with the playoffs only a week away, losing him for any amount of time has to sting, especially on a hit that looked dirty.
Consequently, will the Penguins be losing Orpik heading into the postseason as well? The blueliner was given a 5-minute major penalty for kneeing. Will that be all? Back in December, Kevin Porter earned a 4-game ban for a knee-on-knee to Vancouver Canucks' winger David Booth. If Shanahan feels that Orpik is deserving of even half that amount, the Penguins will be without the services of the rugged D-man for to start the playoffs.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney
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