Training camp opens for Team USA ahead of the World Cup of Hockey and the big question is: What exactly is the World Cup of Hockey? And then there’s the question of who will be the starting goalie for the Americans? 2-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick? Ben Bishop from the Lightning? Or Cory Schneider from the Devils? And nobody knows the answer to that question right now, but we do know one thing: nobody will be sitting on the bench or taking a knee during the national anthem. Not if head coach John Tortorella has anything to do with it.
Torts told Linda Cohn: “If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game.”
Of course he said that. What did you expect? This is a guy who’s ready to have a go at a reporter for how he phrased a question. And his favorite word is disgusting. Or stunk. Or both.
Torts is going to be all right with someone sitting for the anthem. Sure he’s not. Sit him? I’m surprised he didn’t say he’d fight him. He looks like he wants to fight the entire assembled media after most wins. And he practically tried to fight the entire Calgary Flames hockey team after an incident in a regular season game. So no, dude is not going to stand for anyone who sits during the anthem.
This issue runs even deeper for Tortorella, whose son, Nick, is an Army Ranger and currently deployed. So you can imagine the emotions he feels when he hears the national anthem. As he told the Columbus Dispatch: “I know these are hockey games … But I do look at it like it’s for my country. What Nick is doing by far dwarfs what we do. We’re entertainers; we’re playing a sport. But with my son over there — this might sound selfish — I want to team up with him and help my country. I get pretty caught up in representing my country. There’s nothing like it.”
And if Torts is caught up, he’s telling his guys that they better stand up. Freedom of speech? Torts has your freedom of speech, right here on the bench. In other words, go ahead and sit; just don’t do it on his Torts’ watch.