Last night was the final regular season meeting this year between the Rangers and the Devils, but that did not stop the war of words between the two head coaches from continuing after the game itself Monday night and on into Tuesday afternoon.
Rangers players explained that Tortorella was furious with DeBoer for placing heavyweights Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton (along with skilled fighter Ryan Carter) in the starting lineup last night, essentially forcing the Rangers to counter with their heavyweights---Mike Rupp, Stu Bickel, and Brandon Prust. That fury seemed to spill over on the benches when the two coaches were seen yelling at one another, even before a line brawl took place three seconds into the game.
Following the contest DeBoer was quoted as saying, "I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same here...He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."
On Tuesday, following practice, Tortorella responded to DeBoer's comments.
"I think Peter needs to jog his memory as far as starting lineups I have put in over in his building, and really, basically, just shut up," said Tortorella. "And I need to, also. I think the situation last night is disrespectful to the players, and I think we took a backwards step. I get put in a position, when he puts a lineup like that out, and I don't know what's going to happen if I put my top players out, so I have to answer the way I think I need to answer. Really, just look at the two lineups and some of the things he has done here. I don't want to coach his team, but just shut up."
In the three meetings between these two teams at The Prudential Center this season, Tortorella started three different line combinations---Anisimov-Stepan-Gaborik most recently on March 6th, Dubinsky-Richards-Callahan on January 31st, and Fedotenko-Rupp-Prust on December 20th. The visiting coach must always submit his starting lineup first.
"Fighting is a big part of the game, but it doesn't need to be manufactured," continued Tortorella. "It's really gotten old for me, the staged fights. That crap at the beginning of the game, to try and manipuate it into it. I just don't think it's right for the game."