This morning we ran a post with a video showing Joe Thornton calling the Rangers soft after losing to them 5-2 in Madison Square Garden. It ends with John Tororella saying “Joe said that? Wonderful.”

I posited that it may have meant “Joe said that? Wonderful and ballsy considering it came from a guy with a reputation for being soft.” ….Okay, I guess verbatim my guess was: “wonderful, coming from him that doesn’t mean much,” but I still suspected it might be the implication.

It was.

The New York Post’s Marc Berman has the Torts quote in an article titled “Rangers coach says “classless” Joe Thornton should “shut up.”

“It caught me off guard when Stan (Fischler) brought it up after the game,” Tortorella said Tuesday after coaching 8-10-year-olds in a Garden of Dreams charity event at the practice site.

“It surprised me. I never heard a player say that. Joe’s a heckuva player.  But here’s a player popping off about our team. Joe hasn’t won a God damned thing in this league. He could go down as a player, one of the better players in our league who has never to win anything. So what he should do is just shut up.  It was uncalled for. It was classless. I’ve never had it happen like that  before.’’

“Joe hasn’t won a God damned thing in this League” and “could go down as a player, one of the better players in our league who has never won anything” both strike me as kind of personal attacks in response to Joe’s comments about the Rangers group. I know they’d hurt me if I’d poured my heart into winning and hadn’t. At least “soft” is subjective.

The old “you don’t like my clothes? Well at least I don’t have a horrible disease” move.

As Dave Lozo pointed out today on twitter, the timeline is bizarre too: Joe rips the Rangers, Tortorella doesn’t get involved, Joe apologizes and clarifies his statement…then Torts fires back.

For me, the biggest point here is this: you’re an NHL coach. Players going back and forth in the media, that’s fine. They can exact revenge on one another, battle it out, and move on. But as a figurehead for a team, you’re supposed to be above that.

Not to mention that, on a personal level, why burn bridges? If Torts gets canned this year, you think San Jose is gonna look at a guy who not only ripped their captain, but now finds himself disliked by the face of their franchise? He should be above that, especially after a cool-down period.

I’m entertained by it, and I don’t ever want this stuff to stop, but man. Katie Baker said it best today when she tweeted the following video, so we’re just gonna go ahead and bite her idea:

Yup. That about sums it up.

Comments (5)

  1. This is pretty much exactly why Torts’ pressers are must-see TV from a fan perspective. He’s Coach Honey Badger, he don’t give a s***, he says what he wants. Look, there’s a Ranger skating in slow motion, I wonder what’s gonna happen… Oh, that’s NASTY.

  2. The double standard on Jumbo is always amusing to watch. He won the hart and the art ross, but he “hasn’t won anything”. Yes, the Sharks haven’t won the cup yet. Even 99 couldn’t bring it to the Kings by himself though. And if you are looking closely at how his individual performance has affected his teams performance lately, let’s just look at how the Sharks fared in the last two years compared to the Rangers.
    Thornton can be criticized for being emotional, sounding off, and using the wrong words, all justifiably bad for a captain. But he manned up and corrected himself. Torts should be criticized for being a jerk and not having his facts in line. But I’m still waiting for him to man up… waiting… waiting…

  3. The Rangers are struggling having lost to the Leafs and capitulated to the Sens at home despite being up 4-1 this past week… Torts took the opportunity to fire back as a way to shift some of the attention off of the team and onto him, giving his players some breathing room in the media. No one will be talking about players not performing up to expectations or the team’s struggles for a few days. If I was on the Rangers, I’d be happy knowing that my coach is drawing the attention of the media on this topic (and more so putting it back onto Thornton and the Sharks) rather than facing the question in the media.

    PS – Torts saying “Joe’s a heckuva player” sounds an awful lot like George W. Bush’s “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” to the head of FEMA after Katrina hit New Orleans…

  4. But as a player, don’t you want you coaching defending you? Rare that player so blatantly calls out an entire team as “soft”. Damn shame the Sharks-Rangers don’t have a rematch schedules this season.

  5. Rangers have nothing to prove in the “soft” department. If they are soft, the Flyers and Isles will eat them up. They’re not exactly in a soft division.

    That said, Torts shouldn’t run his mouth as much as he does. Lucky for him, NY is pretty tolerant of such things, with the papers looking for stories and all. Glad he’s found a better target than a not-to-be-mentioned member of the media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *