New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella doesn’t have any issues sharing what’s on his mind in a candid fashion, and his response to negative comments made by San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton about the New York Rangers were certainly no exception.
Thornton instigated the issue Monday night after a 5-2 loss to the Rangers when he called the Rangers a “soft” team.
“We played some good teams, and I think we probably should have beat these guys, to be honest with you,” Thornton said after the loss. He also stated that the Rangers are, “probably the softest team we played against.”
While Tortorella didn’t immediately respond to Thornton’s comments after the loss, according to the New York Daily News, he was full of harsh words toward Thornton on Tuesday when he finally responded to the issue in typical Tortorella fashion.
“It caught me off-guard when it was brought up after the game,” Tortorella said. “It surprised me, and I’ve never heard a player say that. Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn’t won a G—— thing in this league.”
While normally soft-spoken, Thornton has often been criticized as a playoff underachiever who seems to disappear when the pressure is on. Thornton began to shed some of that image last spring when he posted 17 points in 18 playoff games for the Sharks. However, after another very successful regular season, the Sharks again failed to advance past the Western Conference Finals where they were beaten by the Vancouver Canucks.
“He could go down as a player, being one of the better players in our league never to win anything,”
Tortorella stated. “So what he should do is just shut up. It was uncalled for, it was classless, and I’ve never had it happen like that before.”
Monday night’s game was the only meeting of the regular season between the Rangers and Sharks. Thornton had one assists and was a minus-1 in 20:01 minutes of ice time.
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