Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella rips NHL officials over clock mismanagement

Sporting News

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella unleashed an expletive-filled rant toward game and league officials after his team lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Tortorella directed his scorn toward how the officials handled the clock in overtime. After the Blackhawks were penalized for having too many men on the ice, the clock appeared to briefly continue to run after the whistle was blown. The time was not put back on the clock. Columbus' Zach Werenski went on to score what seemed to be the game-winner, except time had expired slightly before the puck crossed the goal line.

"The whistle is blown at 19.2 on the clock. For some reason the clock is run down a second and a tenth to 18.1. Whatever reason, I have no goddamn idea," Tortorella said during the postgame press conference. "So instead of resetting the clock, we have them tell our captain, 'We're not going to do it.' [The NHL office in] Toronto doesn't step in, refs don't do their freaking job and now we lose the game, and we lose our goalie."

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Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo was injured during the shootout and was replaced by Elvis Merzlikins, which wouldn't have happened had Werenski's goal stood.

"So the chain of events, if it was done right, [is] we don't lose our goalie [and] we win the hockey game," Tortorella added. "So, all this goddamn technology, right? The technology and getting things right . . . the stubbornness tonight by the officials, and by the league, and Toronto, however it's supposed to goddamn work, screws us. It's ridiculous."

Tortorella ended his press conference without taking questions and offered no update on Korpisalo's condition.

Columbus held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period and allowed a pair of goals in the final 12:27 of regulation to force overtime.

As per The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, NHL director of hockey ops Colin Campell commented on the matter, saying Tortorella's postgame presser comments were "unprofessional along with unacceptable," while also saying that the league is addressing the matter.

On Monday, the league's director of hockey ops, also gave an update and explanation on why play wasn't stopped, citing protocol surrounding a too many men penalty.

"The on-ice officials can always adjust the clock if they feel it is required. The Official Timer can notify the on-ice officials that there are issues at any time from his perspective. Toronto can get involved if we see issues. Assessing when the whistle is blown is hard for us to do sitting in Toronto and not being in the building live," Campbell commented, via the Columbus Dispatch's Brian Hedger.

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