Players appreciate Tortorella's "passion"

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
2:16
PM ET
John Tortorella's expletive-filled rant following his team's 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh likely caught the attention of defenseman Brooks Orpik, coach Dan Bylsma, and the entire Penguins organization.

It also elicited a response from his own players.

"I like the fact that he is passionate about the players on this team," veteran Mike Rupp said. "I think it goes a long way in this room."

Tortorella ripped Orpik for his third-period knee-to-knee hit on Rangers' center Derek Stepan, calling it "cheap" and "dirty," and said players' lack of respect for each other is "sickening."

Stepan's injury does not appear to be too serious, but with Orpik looking like he will escape any supplementary discipline for the play, the Rangers can take some comfort in knowing he wasn't let off the hook completely.

Having been on the receiving end of plenty of Tortorella's outbursts, they know it's not the most pleasant experience.

"It just show his passion for the team and his passion for winning," said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "He's been intense with us and honest the whole time. What he's saying to us, he's saying to you guys. There's no games with him."

After the game, goaltender Martin Biron said he considered going after Orpik. But his coach took care of that instead, and then some. Tortorella also called out the Penguins as an "arrogant organization" and lambasted their two star players Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for their "whining."

His choice words may have ruffled feathers in Pittsburgh, but they had a galvanizing effect in the Rangers' locker room.

"You're a team, a family, an organization," Biron said. "Everybody feels like we want to back one another, and the coach being on the players' side is definitely something you want. He would go to war for anyone in this locker room and I think that the same goes [for us]."

Katie Strang covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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