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New York Rangers coach John Tortorella has responded to comments made by San Jose centre Joe Thornton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ John Woods (John Woods/CP)
New York Rangers coach John Tortorella has responded to comments made by San Jose centre Joe Thornton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ John Woods (John Woods/CP)

Rangers coach John Tortorella tells Sharks' Joe Thornton to 'shut up' Add to ...

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella slept on it -- and then he took exception to disparaging remarks made Monday night by San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton, who called the Rangers the “softest team” the Sharks have played this season.

“To be honest with you, they were probably the softest team we played against on this road trip and we should have had the two points,” Thornton was quoted in Tuesday’s San Jose Mercury News. “We played some good teams and I think we should have beaten these guys.”

The Rangers beat the Sharks 5-2 Monday night at Madison Square Garden, San Jose’s first loss in the final game of a six-game road trip following wins over New Jersey, Boston, Nashville, Detroit and the Islanders.

Tortorella was informed of Thornton’s comments after the game, but chose only to quip, “Wonderful.”

But after sleeping on it, Tortorella criticized Thornton for his comments Tuesday after coaching a team of 8 to 10 year-old in a Garden of Dreams charity event at the Rangers’ practice rink.

“It surprised me,” Tortorella said of Thornton’s comments. “I never heard a player say that. Joe’s a heck of a player, but here’s a player popping off about our team. Joe hasn’t won a (expletive) thing in this league.”

That’s when Tortorella added a deep dig to Thornton.

“He could go down as a player, one of the better players in our league who has never (won) anything,” Tortorella said. “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.”

--Sean Avery has returned to the New York Rangers.

Avery cleared re-entry waivers at noon Tuesday and was recalled for his third stint with the Rangers. The controversial winger could make his season debut Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Rangers placed Avery on re-entry waivers because of Mike Rupp’s knee injury, according to head coach John Tortorella, and he could’ve been claimed by any team.

The 31-year-old was also placed on waivers Oct. 4 and went unclaimed, three days before New York began its season in Sweden. He brings a $1.9-million salary cap hit.

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