By Daniel Friedman
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With Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan facing his previous employer on Thursday night, we take a look at the most outspoken coaches in the region’s history:
Honorable Mention: Peter DeBoer, Devils
DeBoer spoke candidly, and to say he didn’t get along with former Rangers head coach John Tortorella would be a vast understatement.
Signature moment: Engaging Tortorella in a screaming match during the third period of a game. Both coaches were standing over the space between the two benched and jawing at each other.
10. Avery Johnson, Nets
Signature moment: Voicing his dissenting opinion on LeBron James’s theory that there should be fewer teams and, therefore, more talented players on each roster: “I disagree. Maybe the league would be better if we didn’t have three stars on one team.”
9. Mike Keenan, Rangers
He was a winner, no doubt, but he wasn’t your best friend if you were one of his players.
Signature moment: Benching Brian Leetch and Alexei Kovalev at various points during the 1993-94 season.
8. Jim Schoenfeld, Devils
Schoenfeld wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Don’t believe me? Ask former NHL referee Don Koharski about it.
Signature moment: Yelling at Koharski about the officiating in the 1988 Wales Conference finals, calling him a “fat pig” and telling him to “have another doughnut” after he fell while passing by the enraged coach. Koharski subsequently accused Schoenfeld of tripping him intentionally.
7. Herman Edwards, Jets
Edwards made an immediate impact, and not only was his team on point, the media had to be as well, because otherwise he’d call you out.
Signature moment: “You play to win the game! Hello? You play to win the game! You don’t play it to just play it!”
6. Casey Stengel, Mets
You could always count on Stengel for a good quote, and you might say that he was the main attraction during those pitiful first seasons of the franchise’s history.
Signature moment: “The Mets is a very good thing. They give everybody a job. Just like the WPA.”
5. Rex Ryan, Jets
Ryan talked a good game, but beyond his first two years, the Jets didn’t live up to the billing. His defensive schemes were brilliant and he was a better coach than many give him credit for, but he often spoke candidly into a microphone, and that’s when he got himself into trouble.
Signature moment: Saying that he wasn’t there to “kiss Bill Belichick’s rings,” six months after being hired.
4. Billy Martin, Yankees
Martin often let his fists do the talking, but he got into plenty of verbal exchanges that led to those fistfights.
Signature moment: Clocking a marshmallow salesman for suggesting he shouldn’t be AL Manager of the Year.
3. Leo Durocher, Dodgers and Giants
He would order his pitchers to plunk batters and there wasn’t an umpire he couldn’t argue with.
Signature moment: Stating that “nice guys finish last.”
2. John Tortorella, Rangers
He didn’t like the media, or the fact that he had to explain anything to reporters. Tortorella had a short fuse both in the press room and behind the bench while with the Blueshirts.
Signature moment: Butting heads with NY Post reporter Larry Brooks during press scrums.
1. Mike Milbury, Islanders
“Mad Mike” was everything his nickname suggested. He had little patience with his players (especially the younger ones) and as coach and general manager made some damning moves.
Signature moment: Referring to Zigmund Palffy’s agent as a “village idiot.”