Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 3/20/12

In last night's postgame analysis of the Rangers' 4-2 win over the Devils at Madison Square Garden, I included a recap of the events that took place between the opposing benches before the puck dropped for the opening faceoff. As I said yesterday, I was seated directly behind the benches, so was fortunate enough to get a first-hand view of John Tortorella's explosion upon seeing the Devils send out a goon-filled starting lineup. 

There obviously are other, more subtle ways to go about getting back at the opposing team's coach when they send out a lineup to stage fights  than by cursing them out and slamming sticks on glass. However, Tortorella was right in what he did and had a reason to be frustrated over the stunt Deboer pulled to open Monday's contest. 

I'm a big advocate of keeping fighting in hockey, as I truly believe there is a purpose for it in certain circumstances. Staged bouts - three at the same time no less - do not serve a purpose other than entertainment, however. It's not going to win or lose you a game, nor is it proving anything in my opinion. And it's also risky as you saw the approach backfire on Deboer last night. 

But this small battle between the coaches didn't end at the final buzzer last night. Postgame comments lingered and has=ve now created an off-ice feud between the two. 

First, Deboer immediately after the game on Monday:

“I guess in John’s world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can’t do the same in here.  He’s either got short-term memory loss or he’s a hypocrite.  It’s one or the other,” DeBoer stated

To which Tortorella responded with this following today's practice:

“I think Peter needs to job his memory as far as the starting lineups that I’ve put in over in their building and really, basically, just shut up. And I need to also. I think the situation last night is disrespectful to players and I think we took a backwards step,” he detailed.

Tortorella continued, “I get put in a position when he puts a lineup like that out – and I’m not sure what’s going to happen if I put my top players out – so I have to answer the way I need to answer. Really, just look at the two lineups and some of the things he’s done through the games here, again, I don’t want to coach his team, but just shut up.”

The two coaches can point fingers all they want, but at the end of the day, I think these staged fights need to be put to an end. Yes, it's exciting, but it has very little impact on the outcome of the game and only puts players at risk for injury. 

This is another reason why I'm sure Tortorella didn't want to start the game with a brawl; both Brandon Prust and Stu Bickel are very important players on this hockey club and don't need to be risking their availability over goons on the Devils three seconds into a game. It's just unnecessary. 

Well, it's an interesting side-story for sure, but unfortunately last night was the Rangers' last meeting with New Jersey at least for the regular season. 

Deep breath, Torts. Deeeeep breath. 

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