NEW YORK (AP) — John Tortorella's answers at pregame, postgame, and off-day news conferences are about as short as Alex Ovechkin's spins on the ice during the playoffs.
The irritable coach of the New York Rangers clearly disdains the ongoing media gatherings he is required to hold as his top-seeded club faces the Washington Capitals in an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Part of it is Tortorella's desire to keep things close to the vest and out of the public view as he tries to guide the Rangers deep into the postseason. The other seems to be his desire to maintain the hard edge that has made him successful as a coach.
He has already won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year for leading the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup title in 2004. Tortorella is also a finalist for the award this year for his work with the Rangers, who finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and the second best overall in the NHL.
Tortorella's answers were brief, pointed, and presented with a bite on Monday night after New York's 3-2 loss in Game 2 to Washington evened the best-of-seven series. That tone continued on Tuesday.
After New York held an optional practice before hopping a train to Washington for Games 3 and 4 of the series, Tortorella was asked why he takes an adversarial approach with reporters who continue to prod him for information.
He engaged in a bit of volleying as he tried to ascertain if the question was legitimate or of the reporter was trying to be funny. When he was told it was a sincere query, the fiery coach fired back.
"I'm not going to give you much information," he said. "Some of you guys sit here and tell me I'm curt or whatever. I'm not going to have a staring contest. If you don't ask me questions, I'll just leave. So that's the way it is. I'm sorry I'm not a guy that wants to converse about everything during the playoffs. I'm not."