I can only guess that just about every player who has played under John Tortorella, and there's been a lot of them over the course of two decades, has a funny story to tell about the head coach's legendary temper and demeanor. Matt Zuccarello, who played under Torts with the New York Rangers for close to three seasons, is no exception.
Zuccarello appeared on the "Dropping the Gloves" podcast with John Scott when he was asked about his time under Tortorella. "Zucc" told a story from his second season in the NHL, when he went into the locker room of the New York Knicks, who also play at Madison Square Garden, following a Rangers win. Every player's gear was already laid out in their respective spaces.
"So I put on, I think it was Carmelo Anthony's jersey, his shorts and his shoes were there. And I was dribbling a basketball. A couple other guys were there," said Zuccarello. "And the door opens, and I was like mid-dribble, look to the door and it's Torts."
Tortorella's response to what he was seeing?
"Take that shit with you down to Hartford."
Tortorella was referring to the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. Zuccarello added he has no idea if Torts was planning to send him down before this. Whatever the case, seeing Zucc in full Knicks gear was enough to set Tortorella off.
Zuccarello was eventually traded to the Dallas Stars, and then signed with the Minnesota Wild. Tortorella had been fired by the Rangers, done a one year stint with Vancouver, and was the head coach in Columbus by that time.
Not sure about anyone else, but I could listen to NHLers tell Torts stories all day long.