The NHL fined Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella $20,000 on Wednesday for his his expletive-filled rant crticizing how officials managed the clock in overtime of his team's shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 29.
In addition, Tortorella — known as one of the league's most fiery personalities — has been assessed a $25,000 conditional fine that will be collected if he exhibits "similar innapropriate behavior" between now and Dec. 29, 2020.
Tortorella's comments stemmed from an incident during Sunday's game in which time ran off the game clock after the Blackhawks were assessed a penalty in overtime and was not added back. Later, 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 — prompting Tortorella to say the referees "don't do their freaking job."
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"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."
Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo suffered a knee injury during that shootout and will remain out for multiple weeks — something Tortorella said would not have happened if that Werenski 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," he 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."
According to the Athletic's Aaron Portzline, Tortorella apologized for his rant the next day and said he showed a lack of discipline for airing his grievances with officiating in public rather than addressing it with the league privately.
Prior to Tortorella's fine, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell reportedly called Tortorella's comments "unprofessional and unacceptable."