Tortorella fires back at Thornton after remarks

New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella fired back at Joe Thornton a day after the San Jose Sharks captain accused the Rangers of being a soft team.

The outspoken Tortorella, who declined to comment on Thornton’s remarks following Monday’s game because he could not confirm if Thornton had in fact made them, didn’t hesitate to respond to the Sharks veteran on Tuesday.

“Yeah it caught me off-guard when it was brought up after the game. It surprised me, and I’ve never heard a player say that,” Tortorella told the New York Daily News on Tuesday.

“Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn’t won a (expletive) thing in this league. He could go down as a player, being one of the better players in our league never to win anything. 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,” Tortorella told the newspaper.

Thornton made the comments following New York’s 5-2 win over the Sharks on Monday. He said he believed the Sharks should have won the game and questioned the Rangers’ toughness.

“We played some good teams (on our six-game road trip), and I think we probably should have beat these guys, to be honest with you,” Thornton said. “(The Rangers) were probably the softest team we played against.”

The Rangers play Anaheim on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Sean Avery has been recalled by the Rangers and is expected to be in the lineup against the Ducks.

The Sharks went 5-1 on their road trip defeating the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders before losing to the Rangers.

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