Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tortorella on Kessel: I like Phil, but His Tweet is Self-Serving

John Tortorella has had lots of dirt dumped on him by media and scorned players after Team U.S.A.'s dismal 0-3 performance at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. And he gets it. But what he doesn't get is why some of Phil Kessel has fired off a "told you so" tweet after the Americans were defeated by Canada on Tuesday.

Tortorella's sentiments have been echoed by others in the media who feel that Kessel is out of line to go after the American program for not making him a roster invite despite the fact that he's been a very productive player on the international stage.

"I like Phil," Tortorella said, "but..."

During Team U.S.A's 4-2 loss to the Czechs on Thursday, there were chants of "Let's go Kessel" ringing out from the rafters.

"We'll take it from [the media] all day long," Tortorella said of criticism. "It's part of our job, and it's part of your job... I just don't understand players that have been in this situation, players that have played for U.S.A. Hockey--not only Phil but some of the other guys speaking out--to me it's a little self-serving. And quite honestly it doesn't make U.S.A. Hockey look any better, either." Tortorella and Team U.S.A. management have taken heat for leaving skilled players off the roster in favor of more physical players. Kessel, along with Tyler Johnson, Justin Faulk, Nick Leddy, Kevin Shattenkirk are a few others that many see as better choices than Justin Abdelkader, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson.

The Americans regularly outhit their opponents but were outscored by a total of 11-5.

"You guys have grinded us about Phil," said Tortorella to the media. "Phil looks just fine as far as the way you've talked about us not picking him. I just wish he didn't say anything because it makes him look bad. And I don't want him to look bad."

He added: "It's so easy. It's so easy to start chucking dirt on us when things are going bad. But when they've been playing in the program, for the whole of U.S.A. Hockey it does not look good."