John Tortorella And The Impatience of Coaches With The Media

Posted: May 17, 2012 in NHL
Tags: , , , , ,

So I have to tell you that it’s one of those things that sometimes when you go to press conferences or when you watch them on television – some members of the media just don’t like going into the dressing room/locker room. Now, some reporters are easy going while some others are tough and some ask smart questions. One reporter whom I interacted with a lot while at MLSE said he was always worried about the responses he’d get yet some of them got very good responses. The New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is a real feisty guy anyways and so he has very little patience for the media and last night it really showed – the man just hates the media.

But I’ll defend him to a degree here, so the Rangers go out and they didn’t play the perfect game – and they don’t have a high powered offense to begin with, that’s why they’ve been in a lot of close games these playoffs against Ottawa and Washington and they are a great story this year – but John is just so over the media, he basically calls them idiots and last night it really showed “Reporter: Coach, it looked like you had them and it slipped away…what went wrong? John: a number of things Stan, but I’ll keep it in the room. Reporter: Did you feel like this was the kind of effort you would’ve needed to win this game? John: Nope! Reporter: Are you disappointed in their showing, after you had eliminated Washington…John: I answered your first question, nope! Reporter: Do you think it’s more of certain guys who didn’t play enough than they normally have throughout the playoffs? That perhaps it wasn’t enough effort or the results don’t show it? John: You need to improve as a hockey team in every game. Reporter: What areas would you like to see better…John: Stan, I’m going to keep it in the room”

That’s pretty much it, but those are all legitimate questions “keeping it in the room” basically means “I’m not going to talk about it in front of your guys” and I have no problem with a coach saying “listen, I’m going to talk about it in my locker room, I’m not going to talk about it to you guys” I have no problem! But I got into this discussion with a buddy that sometimes in the radio, television and newspaper business, it’s not like years ago when a newspaper had a big fat staff, more guys than they needed – yet every newspaper in North America, especially in the U.S. has been cut down and now you’ve got limited number of people, a lot of good people have been let go. So you’re getting young, cheap people covering hockey (especially in the U.S.) and it’s not like newspapers send their best people to hockey. Then you have the combination of people who never cover hockey and suddenly the Rangers are hot and you send them to a press conference – and they don’t follow the sport religiously and especially in the U.S. you get a lot of that with hockey.

The reality in the media business is that, be it FOX News for example, they wouldn’t send Bill O’Reilly to a speed bump proposal in his hometown, he’s going to the presidential election. The networks send their biggest, best, most talented, smartest stars to the biggest events. Hockey doesn’t get the cream of the crop in the sports media in the U.S. Now you get some guys who use to play hockey – and that’s not saying that everyone who covers hockey is a dope. But with the reduction in numbers of staff, in newspapers all over Canada & more importantly in the U.S. along with radio stations as well, you’re getting young people, inexperienced people – press conferences, to me, have become significantly worse in the last 15 years! Your just getting younger, cheaper people who are over their heads and especially with hockey, you’re not getting a lead columnist anyways. In New York, if I run a newspaper, I’m giving my best writer a column, my second best writer a column, my third best gets the Yankees and my fourth best gets the Giants – where do you think I’m putting the New York Islanders? To the kid out of NYU probably – who doesn’t like hockey, but he’s cheap and he’s bright, he got a degree and will do the job for you for nothing and his brother use to play hockey.

Like I’ve been listening to some of these press conferences – some of the questions are just outright dumb and that’s with me not being a hockey guy. Now, this Stan guy has been covering the Rangers for 40 years – Stan Fischler is his name, he’s been covering hockey forever….he’s fine! So that’s why John Tortorella is calling him by his name – he let Stan go, he didn’t bury him. But there have been some questions at these press conferences these days and I think it’s just down to the reduction in newspaper staffs. Radio stations use to be flushed with money, then big corporations bought them and overpaid for them, they have big bank notes and had to let people go, you’ve got more syndication – you’ve got radios and newspapers that are on shoe string budgets and now have kids at press conferences and coaches have no patience. Again, hockey gets a couple of guys like Stan, who’s been covering the Rangers for 40 years –you look around that room with 30 people, not a lot of Stan’s. The guy covering the Florida Panthers, he apparently was at a floral show earlier in the week!! Some of these questions – it just seems to me that over the last 15 years, there has been a reduction in the quality of questions at press conferences – but again, that’s just me!

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