January 22, 2010
There were two major stories to emerge from the New York Rangers' 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. One of them was on the ice, one of them came off the ice. Both had to do with the concept of honor and appropriate responses.
First, the media sideshow that's buzzing this morning, which featured Rangers Coach John Tortorella's "Round 2" with New York Post scribe Larry Brooks.
Round 1 included an infamous and profane (NSFW) kiss-off from Tortorella in 2007. There have been subsequent battles between the two, which have earned Brooks some flack from Rangers faithful.
This time, Tortorella got testy with Brooks after the reporter inquired about a "fight" between Daniel Carcillo(notes) and Rangers star Marian Gaborik(notes) (about 2:10 in), and why none of Gaborik's teammates defended him at the time:
The Larry Brooks Look of Death (tm) at the brave soul who laughed in the back of the scrum is now burned into our collective memory.
Coming up, the fallout from this and from Carcillo going after the Rangers' MVP this season with no immediate repercussions.
Brooks's highly anticipated NY Post game story this morning took a few shots at the Rangers and Tortorella, including how the coach can preach honor if he backed the signing of Donald Brashear(notes). Listen closely, and you can actually hear Brooks stretching to make a point.
The confrontation became news in the Philadelphia media and Brooks used Twitter to let the world know that this is about something more than a passing reference to Wade Redden's(notes) fighting prowess. Brooks's New York media compatriot Andrew Gross of Rangers Rants had his back:
Here's the bottom line on that, whatever problems the two have, they should not be aired in public like that. And Brooks did nothing in that sequence to instigate. He asked a proper question, in fact both he and I started to ask the same question at the same time and he got his out while I stopped halfway through just so the question could get asked. Which was, should somebody have stepped in while Gaborik was being hit? In fact, Tortorella was asked that three times. But instead of saying no comment or I'm not answering that, Tortorella made it personal. That shouldn't be the case regardless of what, in Tortorella's mind, sparked that reaction.
All of this is true, but none of it matters: This is John Tortorella. This is what he does. Whether you think this makes the Rangers look petty or whiney, it's part of the package. Just be happy he didn't throw a water bottle at anyone.
As for Carcillo vs. Gaborik, here's the incident:
"What is that all about?"
As you can see in the video, Brooks was completely correct in asking what the hell the other four Rangers were thinking as their star offensive player was being assaulted by a Cro-Magnon. From the NY Post, which spoke to bystander Dan Girardi:
"I guess I was overthinking it, Girardi said."I didn't want to take another penalty, because I knew we already had one there [on Brandon Dubinsky(notes)], but I should have gotten involved. I should have jumped in. Maybe it was the wrong decision, but it was the decision I made at the time.
"If there's a next time, I would go."
As for the previously mentioned "licking his chops" line from Carcillo, Frank Seravalli of Philly.com has the details:
Gaborik was no match for Carcillo, who made quick work of him with a few swift rights. With 61 points, Gaborik is by far the Rangers' most important weapon. Carcillo said after the game that he was surprised to see Gaborik come after him - with no Rangers teammates in sight.
"I wasn't expecting him to drop his gloves when he did," Carcillo admitted. "I was pretty much licking my chops."
Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette on the scrap:
"We were outnumbered, Danny came in and picked somebody off the pile and Gaborik dropped his gloves first. So Danny can either get punched or he can drop his and fight.
"I don't think he makes a habit of going after the other team's top players and skilled players. He does a lot of dirty work that other people don't want to do and usually it's with guys, like an [Sean] Avery or a [Aaron] Voros, guys that are pretty tough."
Avery would later get his shot at Carcillo, about seven minutes after the Gaborik fight:
Obviously, had Avery been on the ice when Gaborik was jumped, you'd expect the switch to be flipped and Carcillo to face an immediate rebuke. But it wasn't there from Gaborik's teammates at the time of the fight. This actually speaks to something Larry Brooks has often written about, which is how the Rangers need to play with the passion of Sean Avery(notes).
Well, the pre-lobotomy Sean Avery, who made an appearance last night.