NHL writer Dave Lozo on what it’s like to cover a jerk
Hockey writer Dave Lozo, who recently left NHL.com for The Score, published a post on his Tumblr blog about what it was like to cover recently fired New York Rangers coach John Tortorella for four years.
Evidently, it wasn’t fun:
If Tortorella only gave one-word answers for moronic questions—I can probably relate a dozen stories about reporters asking why he used a timeout in a situation where it was evident he wanted to get his players a breather because of an icing during an extended shift—it would be one thing, but he could be a prick when it came to fair questions, tough questions or even softball questions he felt we writers should already know the answer to.
Tortorella was a walking contradiction—he never wanted to offer any information, and yet he’d scold you for a question because you didn’t have the basic information any other coach would have offered on multiple occasions in the past.
Another reason to cut slack to those asking dumb questions of Tortorella is on top of the fear that comes with dealing with a bully, this particular bully also had a series of ground rules that changed the normal dynamic between coach and reporters. Instead of just thinking of a question and asking it, you had to think of a question, decide if he thought it was appropriate, and if it wasn’t, think of another and repeat the process.
Lozo writes that it took him a while to muster up the courage to ask Tortorella a question, and then eventually he decided it wasn’t worth the effort to try to do so:
For me anyway, it went from asking a scary coach a question to asking your crazy uncle a question to I’m going to avoid the crazy homeless man altogether and walk on the other side of the street.
The long post is worth a read for anyone who’s ever pined for access. That’s not to say be careful what you wish for, or to discourage you from trying to get access. It’s just information so you’ll go in with open eyes.
You don’t have to spend much time in big-time-sports locker rooms and press-conference venues before you run into one John Tortorella or another.