John Tortorella flaunts predictably prehistoric take on Zegras-Milano goal

·4 min read

Someone should probably remind John Tortorella that he doesn’t need to dislike everything that’s fun.

In the wake of Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras’ insane, mind-boggling "Michigan" style assist against the Sabres earlier this week, the takes have been mainly uplifting and positive. But, for the curmudgeon that moved from behind the bench to the ESPN broadcast booth, it wasn't anything too special.

“It’s tremendously skilled,” Tortorella said on the ESPN broadcast Friday. “For Sonny Milano to even yell ‘Michigan’ in the middle of a play, in a game, is skill. That’s a skilled play. My position, though is, is it good for the game? I hear Ray, like all the kids are doing it now in practice and stuff like that. I’m not so sure.

“I’m not trying to be a fool here, I’m just not so sure it’s great for the game. If you did that back in the 2000s, late 90s, you would get your head taken off. It’s cool, it’s cool to watch and all that, but I’m not so sure it’s good for the game. And I stand by that.”

Former NHL coach and current ESPN broadcaster John Tortorella went full Torts with an absolutely classic take on last week's viral Zegras-Milano tally. (Twitter via ESPN+)
Former NHL coach and current ESPN broadcaster John Tortorella went full Torts with an absolutely classic take on last week's viral Zegras-Milano tally. (Twitter via ESPN+)

Tortorella was then asked by host Arda Ocal what his reaction would be if a player scored that type of goal on a team he was coaching.

“I’d have a talk with the people. I would after the game,” Tortorella said. “I’m not trying to be difficult about it. It’s fun to watch, it’s really cool, but I just think our game has gone so far away from what the game should be. A hard game. An honest game. It’s almost gotten too showman. I know you need to have it; you need to sell the game, but I’m from the ilk that it’s still a hard game to play and a good, honest hockey game needs to be played and I think some of this stuff here, we get carried away.”

Even when he was approached with the rational idea that these non-traditional, creative, highlight-reel goals — ones that non-hockey-watching major celebrities were sharing and gawking at — are in fact good for the game and developing interest, Tortorella stood by his opinion. The veteran bench boss recognized that it is enjoyable and entertaining, but just kept on repeating that vague “not good for the game” trope.

Torts' opinion, predictably, got a lot of fans and media types talking, as we do.

Considering that Tortorella is a bit of a showman himself — from arguing with media personnel to getting into physical altercations with other teams off the ice — you would have to think that he would appreciate something interesting happening to the sport which employs him.

Tortorella’s name has been floated out there in some current coaching vacancies around the NHL, so if he ever returns to the bench, we certainly know there will be no flash — just grit, tradition, and probably a loss of interest.

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