Tortorella said he has not spoken to the 33-year-old former Conn Smythe Trophy winner in months.
"It kills me. It kills me," Tortorella told TSN in a candid television interview. "That kid there ... that kid there, I grew up with him. I learned a lot from him in Tampa. We grew up together in Tampa. I don't know where [the relationship] went -- see now you got me talking about him -- but yeah, it's been damaged."
Before the duo's time together in New York, Tortorella coached Richards in Tampa Bay, where they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Tortorella was instrumental in helping the Rangers land Richards during free agency in 2011, but the relationship became strained last season as Richards' play regressed.