In his first public remarks since questioning the officiating at the 2012 Winter Classic Monday in Philadelphia, Rangers head coach John Tortorella made sure to aknowledge following practice on Wednesday that he made an error in judgement with what he said two days prior.
"They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees...and what was done at the end of the game," explained Tortorella. "Not for a second in no way, time, shape, or form did I think anything like that (fixing the game so that it goes to overtime) goes on with our league, or ever will."
Tortorella added that his comments regarding the referees meeting with NBC to conspire at having the Winter Classic go to overtime were completely "tongue-in-cheek". "For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of (referees) Denny (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh), the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here---there's not a chance I am thinking that way," Tortorella continued. "It was wrong with my sarcasm and my frustration and I apologize to everyone involved."
"I really thought they reffed a good game...I had frustrations at the end and that's what came out"
The Rangers head coach, who has spoken about his post-game comments with league official Colin Campbell, offered that the Winter Classic "was a first-class operation...and I screwed up with my mouth at the end, and I regret it, and I have apologized to all the people involved." Tortorella also said that he plans to apologize to LaRue and Walsh in person, not over the phone, and that he already has apologized to Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren, as well.