War has been declared.
It was expected that the Pittsburgh Penguins would retaliate the first chance they got after Rangers head coach John Tortorella lashed out against them following last night's game, calling them an "arrogant" organization and referencing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as "whining stars".
But the actual retaliation, which came from Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, wasn't exactly what we expected to hear. Not only did he shoot down what was said about he and his team, which is perfectly fine, but he also started to redirect the comments back at the Rangers, specifically captain Ryan Callahan.
Here's what Crosby said after today's practice, courtesy of the Pens' official website:
"I don’t know what he’s (John Tortorella) talking about. I mean, if you want you can put a camera on us all game, put a camera on (Ryan Callahan) all game. You’ll see who’s over there more. He should worry about his own players.
"I don’t know when this all started, if this is part of the new tactics in the playoffs, but it’s garbage. The game's played on the ice. You get all this stuff going on. It really is garbage. It’s nonsense and if they want to do it great, but I’m not going to waste my time answering questions about it all the time. It’s getting pretty old.
"If anything, they are trying to persuade the officials who are not making calls and second-guessing things. I hope it doesn’t affect us. I really hope they aren’t listening to (those comments) because it’s nonsense. They are trying every which way to gain an advantage. Go ahead try it, but we’re not paying a lot of attention to it. It’s just old."
Ryan Callahan? I've seen the guy blow up on the refs before, but Callahan is by no means a whiner nor does he bark at the officials as often as Crosby does. And the fact of the matter is that there's no need for Crosby to be talking to the refs as often as he does, because most calls are in his favor regardless. I'm not even trying to be a biased Ranger fan here - it's the truth.
Crosby didn't stop there, either. When he was originally asked about Tortorella's comments, he said the following:
"I figured he was just blowing up. I’m sure he’ll apologize today about it and everything will be forgotten."
Don't count on it, Sid. Tortorella is not going to apologize for making a comment that has been on the entire league's mind for a while now. It needed to be said and there are no regrets.
* Derek Stepan did not participate in today's practice for the Rangers, but he has not been ruled out for tomorrow's game against the Washington Capitals at MSG. Reports are that Derek is sore, but does not believe it's anything serious.
* Henrik Lundqvist is also still a tad sore, be he wants to play tomorrow versus the Caps. I'd expect him to get the start.
If you haven't yet read Mike's column on John Tortorella being the best coach in hockey from earlier today, do so here.