Rangers, Devils coaches squabble

Updated: May 22, 2012, 4:02 AM ET
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella fired a few shots toward the New Jersey Devils and their coach Peter DeBoer in a post-practice rant Sunday, but the two coaches' feud reached a fever pitch Monday in Game 4 after a melee in the third period.

The two coaches were screaming at each other from their respective benches, separated only by a few feet, after a heated scrum 6:18 into the third period.

Tortorella declined to discuss the incident after the Devils' 4-1 rout evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

DeBoer, however, said: "This isn't about John and I. This is about the guys on the ice. So I don't have anything to say about that."

Just seconds after rocking defenseman Peter Harrold with a teeth-rattling check, ex-Devil Mike Rupp hit goaltender Martin Brodeur in the chest after the whistle, igniting the feisty third-period fracas between the two teams.

Rupp earned a double-minor roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct, ruling him out for the remainder of the game, while Devils fourth-liner Ryan Carter was slapped with a two-minute roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct.

"I was minding my own business for real," Brodeur said. "I never really yap at anybody, especially (Rupp); He's so big. He just kind of turned around, and I guess was a little pumped up and wanted to get somebody, and I was the target for him to hit me. That's part of the game, I guess.

"It's unfortunate that someone has the right to do that, but who cares, we got the four-minute penalty and killed time for the rest of the game."

DeBoer said of the hit: "You don't like to see that. He's a key guy for us. Two teams battling it out. He's a big boy. He can take care of himself."

Brodeur added that he was "just happy I didn't get hurt on it."

"It kind of stung me a little bit. I didn't know what to do really," he said. "It kind of stung my jaw. He hit me in the chest, and his fist went up to my mask, but it kind of surprised me more than anything but now I know I can take a punch."

Rupp was not available for comment after the game.

Tensions seemed to escalate between the two teams after Tortorella accused the Devils of selling calls and using illegal tactics on Sunday -- charges that DeBoer called "comical."

Devils rookie Adam Henrique and Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh dropped the gloves for the first fight of the series in the first, while Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk went at each other repeatedly in the second.

The dislike between the coaches is not new, however. Tortorella and DeBoer engaged in a war of words during the last regular-season meeting the teams March 19 as well.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Follow Katie on Twitter »  Chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

MORE NHL HEADLINES