New York Rangers coach John Tortorella would like you to know he scratched struggling star center Brad Richards only with great reluctance.
As is his wont, he'll even use salty language to underline the point.
He devoted a few minutes of his Game 4 post-game press conference explaining his decision, even though the Rangers won their first game of their series with the Boston Bruins with Richards out of the lineup instead of toiling in futility on the fourth line.
The two go way back, to their 2004 Stanley Cup championship together in Tampa Bay. And he wants to make that clear:
This is a Conn Smythe winner, a guy I've grown up with, a guy that I love, as a person and a player. But I have to make that decision regarding this. So kiss my ass if you want to write something different.