John Tortorella blasts refs

Updated: January 3, 2012, 12:20 PM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

PHILADELPHIA -- A feel-good, come-from-behind Winter Classic win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday didn't leave New York Rangers coach John Tortorella completely warm and fuzzy.

The fiery coach basked in the Rangers' 3-2 victory against their Atlantic Division rivals but delivered a parting shot at the game's officials.

Tortorella blasted the referees and questioned whether the on-ice crew had their own agenda to make the game more entertaining for the sellout crowd and the viewing audience tuned in at home.

"They're two good referees, (but) I thought the game was reffed horribly," Tortorella said of Ian Walsh and Dennis LaRue. "I'm not sure what happened there. Maybe they wanted to get it to overtime. I'm not sure if they have meetings about that or what, but we stood in there."

"That third period," Tortorella said. "It was disgusting."

The call that drew the most ire was a penalty shot awarded to the Flyers with 19.6 seconds remaining after Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh was whistled for covering the puck in the crease.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stoned Flyers' forward Danny Briere on what would've been the game-tying goal, but made it clear that he thought the call was bogus.

When asked if he thought the penalty shot was awarded to heighten the excitement of an already heavily-hyped game, Lundqvist conceded that it was possible.

"Maybe that's the only reason why he called it," he said. "It would've been tough to swallow if they'd scored but luckily they didn't. There were a couple calls at the end there where I was surprised, honestly."

Tortorella said he felt the officiating deteriorated in the third period with the Rangers leading 3-2.

"I'm not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime game," Tortorella said. "It started with the non-call on (Marian Gaborik) getting pitch-forked in the stomach. And then everything started going against us."

When asked for a response from director of officiating Terry Gregson, an NHL spokesman said the league would not comment unless they decide to fine Tortorella.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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