PITTSBURGH — The loudest of sports radio hosts act loudly to get attention, and maybe you’re not supposed to reward them. But The Post’s Capitals gang happened to be eating lunch Monday afternoon in a restaurant where longtime headline-grabber Mark Madden happened to be hosting his radio show, and so we happened to hear him say many quotable things about Caps Coach Barry Trotz.
If that wasn’t the universe telling me to break out the transcription machine, I don’t know what would qualify as such. Maybe Madden coming up to me later at the arena to specify that he didn’t just call Trotz a whiny loser; he called him a “whiny no-neck loser.” Which also happened.
So feel free to be morally pure and look away. But I couldn’t resist.
The backstory: on Saturday, Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik hit Olli Maatta high, and was given a three-game suspension.
Trotz Orpik said it was fair. Trotz said the club would accept whatever the league decided, but also said “I’m not surprised based on who we’re playing and all that. He was asked to clarify. “Take it for whatever you want,” he said.
Many people took that as Trotz suggesting the league was cutting the Penguins a break. That’s why Trotz’s name was trending in Pittsburgh for hours. And that’s why he was the featured target at the start of Madden’s show. Here are some of the juiciest bites.
* “Orpik’s a standup guy, always has been, and I respect his accountability,” Madden said. “But Barry Trotz, the Capitals coach, said he’s not surprised the suspension was so long, given who they’re playing. In other words, the league favors the Penguins. What a whiny no-neck loser Barry Trotz is. He also said Maatta was already hurt. That right there is what’s wrong with the league. No accountability. Always the victim. Never our fault. Trotz is a loser even when he wins. And Barry, if you’re gonna whine like a little [expletive], at least get your information right. He said the Pittsburgh media was portraying Brooks Orpik as a predator? Not the case. That was Mike Milbury. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a bunch of crap. A bunch of nonsense, that’s all that came out of Barry Trotz’s mouth. The Capitals are very physical, and frankly much dirtier than I expected. Maybe they’re frustrated because they can’t keep up.”
* “I’m not gonna hold it against Orpik. I’m just not,” Madden said. “If that’s because I know him and worked with him, okay maybe. But at least he took responsibility, admitted it was a bad hit and said he deserved to be suspended. Trotz claiming that the league favors Pittsburgh and that’s why the suspension is so long, and that Maatta was already hurt, that’s just a bunch of nonsense, and Barry should be ashamed for having said that. It’s not gamesmanship; it’s mere stupidity. Absolute stupidity from the mouth of a guy who’s never come close to winning and could well blow the best shot he’s ever had at it if his team doesn’t start hitting less and playing hockey better.”
* “As far as Barry Trotz goes, saying that the league wants the Penguins to win, and that Maatta was already hurt, he’s a no-neck scumbag,” Madden said. “I understand calling the league’s integrity into question because it is a league of disrepute, but the league should be pissed at Trotz and should take action by way of a heavy fine. That’s inexcusable, what Barry Trotz said, but that jerk-off [John] Tortarella says it, so many people have said it in the past. Boy, for a team that’s a favored nation, we sure ain’t done so well in the playoffs since 2009, have we? Just an absurd accusation by a guy who’s never won a thing.”
* “I think Barry Trotz should be embarrassed,” Madden said. “I think he should be ashamed of himself. And that is something the NHL should take action about, because Barry Trotz is basically accusing the NHL of helping throw the series, of tilting things the Penguins way. Barry Trotz is calling the integrity of the league into question, and nine times out of 10, I’d be right there with him, but in this case, he’s wrong. But he’s a no-neck loser who’s way under .500 in the playoffs, never been out of the second round with Nashville, and hopefully won’t do so with the Capitals either.”
* “Orpik is a stand-up guy. Barry Trotz is not a stand-up coach,” Madden said. “I’m surprised he can stand up at all, not having a neck. That’s got to affect your balance.”
For the record, Madden approached Team Post during Monday night’s game to let us know that he absolutely hated Kris Letang’s hit on Marcus Johansson, and that he thinks it deserves a hefty suspension.
Meanwhile, the gents at “Pardon the Interruption” also discussed Trotz’s comments.
“Look, every coach in the league — okay, not every, so three-quarters of them — think that the Pittsburgh Penguins are the whiniest, wimpiest bunch out there,” Michael Wilbon said, “that all they do is scream for protection for their guys, their big stars. And that starts with Sidney Crosby and extends to Malkin, and that’s just the way the entire league, or most of it, thinks. So of course Trotz has got a former Penguin who never got this kind of attention from the league office when he was playing with Pittsburgh. And now that he’s with the Capitals, playing against Pittsburgh, he’s out. I understand the sentiment, given what I agree is the protection historically…of the Pittsburgh Penguins.”
“This is what Barry Trotz said: the league wants the Penguins to win and wants us to lose and that’s why they’ve done it,” Tony Kornheiser said. “That is exactly what he said. He’s a smart guy, and he knows what his words carry, and maybe a lot of people around the league feel that way. There’s a game tonight; win the game. If you’re the Capitals, win the game. Win one or two for [Orpik]. I mean, that’s the way this thing goes. … A coach has just said to the commissioner of the league, you guys are in the tank for them and you’re rigging the series. That’s what he said. “