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Capitals coach Adam Oates says he could beat up Rangers coach John Tortorella

05.17.13 at 12:05 pm ET

Capitals coach Adam Oates was not known as a fighter during his 20-year NHL career (which included six seasons in Boston), but he said he’s confident he could beat up Rangers coach John Tortorella.

“Yes,” Oates said Thursday. “Easily.”

Oates’ comment came during an appearance on Washington’s 106.7 The Fan, when he was talking about the controversy that surrounded his team’s seven-game first-round series loss to Tortorella’s Rangers.

The Capitals were unhappy with the officiating after the Rangers rallied with wins in Games 6 and 7. Caps star Alex Ovechkin implied there was an order from up high to benefit the Rangers, and general manager George McPhee backed him up, saying: “I don’t think there’s a league conspiracy, but it sure didn’t feel right. Alex wasn’t wrong.”

Tortorella was dismissive of the comments.

“We’ve got everybody and their brother whining out there in Washington about what happened in that series,” Tortella said Wednesday. “And I think that’s a big reason they lose that series.”

Oates had his chance to publicly respond to Tortorella on Thursday, as the Rangers were preparing to meet the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Well, I think he’s out of line,” Oates said. “[Tortorella] should be worried about his own series. We didn’t whine once during the series. I never complained. I don’t know, did you guys ever hear me complain about officiating?”

Added Oates: “Ovi [complained] after Game 7. No one complained before any game. I met with the supervisor before Game 7. You meet with the supervisor before every single game. We never complained about anything.”

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