John Tortorella Gives Insight to Famous Locker Room Speech, Dealing with Media During Lightning Series

By Chris Pennington on April 11, 2020 at 12:54 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella looks on from behind the bench against the Washington Capitals in the second period at Capital One Arena. The Capitals won 4-3.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There are few things better than a John Tortorella rant.

In the midst of the one-year anniversary of one of the greatest upsets in NHL playoff history featuring your Columbus Blue Jackets taking down one of the best regular-season teams ever, the fifth-year head coach had some opinions still left publicly unshared.

On Wednesday's edition of Hockey & Hounds, a segment on 97.1 The Fan hosted by Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Rothman, Tortorella explained the consistent lack of respect felt from the hockey world before, during and after the sweep against the Lightning, beginning with his famous Game 1 locker room speech:

"I wasn't sure what I was going to say. "It's a short walk from the coaches room to the locker room prior...I wasn't sure what I was going to say, but I know I had a fury going within me because no one would ask me about (us)," said Tortorella. "We had no respect going in there. I just kind of 'wung' it. I never prepare those things. I don't know how to prepare speaking, I just speak."

Tortorella's "fury" stemmed from a consistent ignorance of his team's success that season and bright young players. He endlessly heard about his opponent's accolades and glory and was clearly tired of it.

"I had to sit there and take it, you have to eat it. Tampa, 62-game win in the regular season. I get all that...I sat in these media things. No one asked about Seth Jones. No one asked about Pierre-Luc (Dubois). Or (Bobrovsky)," continued Tortorella. "It was always "well are you going to be able to handle that guy from Tampa?", and I took it. I kept my mouth shut. I tried to answer the questions as respectfully as I could, but by the time that series started, I just kind of went with it."

And went with it he did.

"I just kind of 'wung' it. I never prepare those things. I don't know how to prepare speaking, I just speak."– John Tortorella

Winning the series clearly wasn't enough to halt the disrespect, though. Not so much from national media this time, but from the opposing head coach in Jon Cooper, according to Tortorella.

"And then when we win the series, I get a bit of a hate-on for...not how the players handled, but basically how their coach handled themself after the series," said Tortorella. "Reciting a freaking poem or something. "Six days in April", you know, "We just didn't play well six days in April," You lost. Shut up. You lost. Eat it, like I had to eat it prior to the series. You got beat. That's all you need to say - not make excuses. Still gives us no respect."

Clearly, Cooper was having a tough time handling becoming the first Presidents' Trophy team to ever be swept in the first round in the history of the NHL. Makes sense.

"You lost. Shut up. You lost."– John Tortorella

We will never get tired of John Tortorella sharing his feelings unfiltered, especially in the defense of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He must be protected at all costs.

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