Hypocrisy name of game in NHL playoffs

What message does it send to bad boy Sean Avery when your very own coach loses his cool and does exactly the opposite of what he’s been preaching?
A little background here. . . .
John Tortorella, head coach of the N.Y. Rangers, benched Sean Avery for Game 5 of their series with the Washington Capitals because of two undisciplined—albeit not costly—penalties late in the Rangers’ Game 4 win, then promptly turned around and lost his cool himself, spraying a fan with a water bottle in Game 5 in Washington behind the bench before being restrained by players from doing further damage with a nearby innocent hockey stick.
To make matters worse, “Torts” subsequently threw the accomplice to the crime (the water bottle) into the crowd—striking a female fan in the head who later approached the police.
Here was the head coach who was demanding discipline from Avery only to go haywire himself in the heat of the moment not unlike his player did.
Sure, some of the blame lies with the fans themselves, but expecting that all 17,000+ fans in the stands are going to sit quietly and innocently watch the game is foolish thinking—and surely the players and coaches know to be prepared for the worst in that regard.
Tortorella always has been a loose cannon, with tirades against media personnel and his players making frequent appearances on sports shows throughout his career.
Clearly, he hasn’t learned to walk that fine line often enough—and hasn’t been disciplined enough to change his ways.
A one-game suspension for Tortorella is merely a slap on the wrist, and we can expect him to fall off the rails again down the road.
The incident may be the turning point in the series as at that time, the game was just 1-0 for Washington with the Rangers up in the series 3-1. But after Sunday’s 5-3 loss in Game 6, the two teams were set to square off in a decisive Game 7 last night with the Rangers looking dead in the water.
Rangers’ forward Nik Antropov took out his frustration on another innocent stick in Sunday’s game, slamming it several times into the players’ bench like an axe murderer—much to the dismay of a team trainer who nearly took the brunt of it.
No word on whether it was the same stick Tortorella tried to spear into the Capitals’ fan the previous game. If it was, though, you can bet the Rangers’ next course of action will be to blame his actions on the “possessed” evil stick.
Here is an excerpt from the letter Rangers’ GM Glen Sather sent to the NHL defending Tortorella after the one-game suspension was handed down:
“We respectfully request that you consider appropriate discipline in light of Washington’s gross negligence in ensuring the safety of the personnel on the Rangers’ bench, including Coach Tortorella, in the face of the Rangers’ repeated requests for intervention against egregious fan misconduct during Game 5.”
“Gross” and “egregious” are strong words, to say the least, but pale in comparison to this next little tidbit.
“Throughout the game, several people seated immediately behind the visitors’ bench took advantage of the looseness of the glass panels and the unusually wide gaps between the panels to assault the Rangers with some of the most obscene language imaginable,” Sather argued in the letter.
Has Sather ever been within earshot of Avery’s antics on the ice? Surely this obscene language was no worse than what players engage in throughout a game?
Case in point: Has anyone watched the YouTube clip of Vancouver Canucks’ forwards Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler agitating the St. Louis Blues’ David Backes with comments about his wife, Kelly? And that’s just the rare stuff that is caught by a microphone.
Profanity is a second language in the NHL, and you don’t have to be an expert in reading lips to understand that. So what was this “obscene language imaginable,” Mr. Sather? Here’s his account of the events leading up to Tortorella’s meltdown:
“Because of the way the glass is installed, the patron sitting behind Coach Tortorella [the gray-haired, bearded man in the white T-shirt] could literally scream into the coach’s ear,” Sather wrote.
“According to Rangers’ trainer Jim Ramsay, one patron was screaming at the team, in graphic language, about whether Dan Girardi and Marc Staal have a sexual relationship. This was within earshot of several children seated nearby. Several other fans also made repeated homophobic remarks.”
How dare the fans stoop to your level! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying the Washington fans’ actions, but this whole story wreaks of hypocrisy—and the Rangers know it even if they don’t want to admit it.
But that’s just the name of the game in the NHL playoffs, where every edge is magnified and exploited.
If your player cross-checks a guy in the head, it was justified, but if your player is on the receiving end of a similar hit, then you are demanding league action and crying bloody murder.
Do you blame them? Winning is everything in the playoffs, and if it takes a little embellishment to help you get a favourable call down the road, you can bet they are going to try it.

Posted in Uncategorized