I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t get into the NHL like I used to these days. I grew up watching Gretzky, Lemieux, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Mike Bossey so I’m used to seeing goals actually being scored. But I have really enjoyed this year’s Stanley Cup Play-offs. And I’ve found my new Least Favorite Head Coach in Sports…John Tortorella of the New York Rangers.
This isn’t about Tortorella the head coach, he’s excellent behind the bench. Or is this about Tortorella the person, I’ve never hung out with him. This is about how Tortorella treats people during his post-game press conferences. To me, Tortorella comes off as a bully and a jerk. He gives out one word answers, interrupts questions and is condescending as hell.
Obviously NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t have the stones to do anything about Tortorella so maybe it’s time for Johnny and Terry Ford to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting…
Look, Johnny, I know that we fans don’t care how players, coaches, managers or GM’s treat the media. You coaches aren’t hired to be nice guys, you are hired to win games, bottom line. You’ll never hear a general manager say, “Our coach has had three straight losing seasons but doggone it, he’s such a nice fella, we’re gonna give him a three year contract extension!” It’s sad but true that no one cares if you’re a nice person, we just care if you win.
And I get that you don’t want to give out any info that your opponent could use against the Rangers and I also understand that you want the focus being on you instead of the players to take the pressure off of them. It’s about how you go about it that stinks.
But Johnny, you don’t have to act like, well…you… in the process. I know the media can be a pain sometimes but the beat reporters are just doing their jobs. They have stories to file with their newspapers, web and blog sites, radio and television stations. And quotes from the head coach are typically a big part of those stories. And gee Johnny, why do you think these reporters are at your lame press conference in the first place? Your glowing personality? It’s because the fans have an appetite for this information! Sports media is big business because of fan interest. The fans are the reason you get to cash those nice, fat paychecks! So basically Johnny, you’re also spitting on the fans.
Another point here Johnny is that you’re a head coach…IN THE NHL! Yep, the NHL, a sport whose regular season national ratings are only a little higher than pro bowling. Most sports fans pick the hockey highlights as the time they run grab a beer or hit the bathroom. And at a time the sports world is actually paying some attention to your game, they get to see you acting like, well…you… I guess you don’t understand the importance of good PR for a sport most people in the U.S. could care less about.
And then Johnny, there’s the whole showing your fellow man a little respect. Do you think you’re something special because you coach a bunch of dudes skating up and down a block of ice, trying to put a chunk of rubber in a net with a stick? That doesn’t make you a better person, just a higher paid person. My kid’s babysitter rates higher than you on my list. You really need to check yourself. I always judge folks on how they treat the little people. And Johnny, you get a FFF. I have a feeling Johnny that the media isn’t the only group of people who you treat like dirt. Thank God you’re not my neighbor.
In closing Johnny, you can tell the press nothing and at least be professional. And since you’re the head coach it’s kind of your job to answer questions and be a good ambassador for the game of hockey that affords you a pretty nice lifestyle. It’s a shame that no one hasn’t pulled you aside and told you to quit being, well…you. I never thought I’d say this about anybody Johnny but you make Bill Belicheck look like Chris Rock.