- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella was fined $30,000 for his postgame comments about the officiating in Monday's Winter Classic.
"There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League, its officials or its broadcast partners," said NHL Senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell. "People can disagree with calls by officials on the ice, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Tortorella did."
Prior to the fine being levied, Tortorella apologized for the comments.
Following the Rangers' 3-2 victory over the Flyers, Tortorella called the officiating "disgusting" and, in particular, ripped the officials' third-period performance. He also questioned whether the crew conspired to send the game into overtime, although Tortorella clarified Wednesday that those comments were made "tongue-in-cheek."
"I tainted the Winter Classic with my mouth and I shouldn't have," a remorseful Tortorella said. "So I apologize to everyone involved."
Tortorella said he was frustrated but did not seriously think the NHL or NBC, which aired the mid-afternoon game, colluded to influence the outcome.
"That was not even in my mind. They were sarcastic comments by me, at the wrong time. It was frustration on my part as far as the referees were concerned and how it was done at the end of the game. I wanna get that straight," he said. "Not for a second, no way, time, shape or form did I think anything like that goes on with our league. Or ever will."
"It was wrong with my sarcasm and frustration, and I apologize to everyone involved. I want to make sure that's straight," he continued. "That was not my intent and I certainly handled it the wrong way."
Tortorella said he regretted using the word "disgusting" to describe the work of officials Dennis LaRue and Ian Walsh and planned to apologize to both face to face.
"I've known them for a long time," Tortorella said. "They do a great job; it's one of toughest jobs in the game. For me to put them under a microscope in that type of setting -- the Classic -- was wrong."
Tortorella confirmed that he spoke with NHL vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell Tuesday and had planned to meet again on Wednesday.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.