Tortorella: No more talk of refs

The Lightning coach doesn't want the topic of officiating to dominate conversation.

Published November 27, 2007

TAMPA - If Lightning coach John Tortorella has his way - and he apparently addressed the issue with his players Monday - there will be no more discussions about penalties that should or should not have been called.

"Absolutely," Tortorella said at the St. Pete Times Forum. "I do not want to hear any more about officials. I do not want to hear any more from organizational, players, coaches, trainers, anybody about officials.

"That isn't what this is about. That's not how you win hockey games. We need to stop that."

It has been a contentious little spurt between the team and the on-ice officials.

Last week, Tortorella was fined $10,000 for disparaging remarks made Nov.19 after an overtime loss to the Thrashers. Players have said they want the standard for penalties applied more consistently. Several calls were questioned during an 0-3-1 streak that dropped the team to 10-11-2 and 12th in the East.

"Every team goes through circumstances throughout a year, and we cannot use that as any type of reason as far as where we are as a club. That has to stop," Tortorella said. "We need to find a way to grind through it and win a game and not worry about anything else going on around us."

The message seems to have gotten through.

"You've just got to play your game," wing Jason Ward said. "You can't worry about surrounding things. You just go in there worrying about what you can control, and that's working hard and trying to get two points."

Other players begged off when asked about officiating.

"There's no sense," Tortorella said, "talking about it any more."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.