The Game 6 suspension of Rangers coach John Tortorella was a bit heavy handed, perhaps. Still, that shouldn't make big, bad New York whimper as they're being backed into a playoff corner.
An obnoxious hockey fan is an obnoxious hockey fan -- they exist therefore they are. Tortorella should have taken the high road, instead of reacting to idiotic behavior with more of the same. And well, after harassing a heckler with squirt bottles and sticks, it's no surprise that Tortorella was observing Sunday's matinee from afar.
The right move for the New York Rangers franchise should have been to concentrate on closing out the series, on their home ice, with Jim Schoenfeld as a perfectly suitable coaching substitute. Tortorella had the option of speaking to his team prior to noon, in perhaps a made-for-TV motivational moment, but chose not to because he didn't want to be a distraction.
Meanwhile, the soft side of the Big Apple was busy composing prose to commissioner Bettman, essentially comparing the Phone Booth to Abu Ghraib, and conceding a return trip to the DMV before Game 6 was even played. From bite marks, to tetanus shots, to concealed serious injuries, to homophobic accusations, the Rangers' complaints about everything that hasn't gone their way, aside from losing, runs the gambit. They've created the kind of distraction they should be avoiding.
If you're scared New York, say you're scared. But if you want to play hockey, keep quiet and take care of business on the ice.
'Series is far from over,' will be the reminding reality checks spouted off from 'round the rink leading up to Tuesday's Game 7. New York has no choice but to come out physical while hoping "King Henrik" Lundqvist holds down the fort.
But the Caps haven't bought into the Rangers' three-ringer with Tortella as the ringleader and Sean Avery playing the clown. Washington has turned penalty minutes by the boys in blue into offensive rhythm. And now that Ovie & Co. have found a high hole in the links of the Lundqvist fence, watch out.
Unfortunately for the NY tough guys, soft and scared is not a very becoming look on Gotham City. As their fans have fallen into a slumber, their season might be put to rest too.