Quote(s) Of Day: Joe Thornton/John Tortorella

Our quote of the day belongs to Joe Thornton. Apparently, losing 5-2 to the Rangers Monday was too much for the former No.1 overall pick (’97) who’s won exactly no Cups to bare.

They were probably the softest team we played on the trip. We should have had these two points.”

Ah. Perhaps frustration is building for the superstar center who watched former club Boston win its first Stanley Cup since 1972- defeating the same Canucks who ousted Jumbo Joe’s team in the Western Conference Final. Whatever the motivation behind such a statement, it comes off as sour grapes and reflects poorly on one of the great playmakers our sport has. Thornton recently eclipsed 1,000 career points. This won’t win him any fans. A day after a one word reply of “Wonderful,” to Thornton’s assessment, John Tortorella didn’t mince words following the Blueshirts’ morning skate:

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 god d___ 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.”

Are the Rangers soft? When they aren’t proactive, yes. Last night was the first complete effort of the season. Somewhat taking advantage of San Jose’s third in four of a grueling road trip. Albeit all three in the metro area with the teal getting the better of the Devs and Isles prior to the Rangers’ three unanswered that broke open a 2-2 game in the second. There’s little doubt that this club isn’t as physical and lacks enough D minus Marc Staal, which explains why they were outshot in the first nine prior to Monday. The Blueshirts had gotten away from their blue collar, aggressive forechecking style that this city identifies with. It took onto Game 10 for the club to put together a 60 minute effort led by captain Ryan Callahan (2-1-3), Brandon Dubinsky (2 assists) and Dan Girardi (2 assists). Artem Anisimov also scored his first and Martin Biron was stellar in net for the team’s first win at the renovated MSG. Even Erik Christensen had two sweet dishes.

The Rangers next host the Ducks Thursday with the Habs visiting Saturday as part of the six-game homestand. It’ll be interesting to see how the club responds to the rude criticism from Thornton. Honestly, they shouldn’t need any extra incentive.
Avery Returns: After predictably going unclaimed on re-entry waivers, Sean Avery returns Thursday. With Tortorella finally icing a lineup that worked, don’t expect him to play. May as well go with what worked. It still should be interesting to watch how this plays out. Especially with Andre Deveaux having a solid debut, fulfilling a dream by playing alongside childhood pal Dan Girardi. Pretty cool story.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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