So Joe Thornton Thinks The Rangers Are Soft

November 1, 2011, by

In his post game interview last night, Joe Thornton was upset that his San Jose Sharks lost to a “very soft Rangers team.” Thornton continued this by stating that the Rangers were the softest team they played on their road trip. Well, let’s define soft. To me, soft is a team that is unwilling to do the dirty work to get the job done. They won’t deliver hits, won’t go into corners, won’t block shots, and won’t clear the crease. In essence, they just want to Roger Dorn their way through the game.

Let’s start with the two areas that have stats: hits and blocked shots. The Rangers are currently 10th in the league in hits with 238, which isn’t too shabby. Hits are a tough stat to really measure, because the home scorekeeper generally inflates this stat a bit. Since the Rangers have only played three home games, expect this number to increase a lot. I would expect the Rangers to finish in the top-five in hits.

As for blocked shots, well we all know the Rangers block shots. They have 151 blocked shots thus far, good for 16th in the league, way off from last year’s league leading pace. Blocking shots is a double edged sword. It shows a certain toughness to be able to sacrifice your body to block a 90+ MPH shot, but it also takes a certain stupidity to do it against a Zdeno Chara slap shot (cough, Cally, cough). Not many players block shots regularly, but it seems almost every Ranger is willing to block a few shots for the team.

As for working in the corners, well that’s a tough area to really quantify with stats, so we have to go with the eye test. Looking up and down the Rangers roster, we know who will work in corners, and who won’t. Every team has players on both sides of the fence. Let’s call this one a wash.

Where Thornton may have some accuracy is in the clearing the crease area. The Rangers have struggled with that for many years, as it seems that Henrik Lundqvist gets run on a daily basis. It is less of a problem lately with the additions of Mike Sauer and Ryan McDonagh, both of whom are willing to knock someone down. However, the injury to Marc Staal does leave something to be desired in terms of physicality on the blue line. Injuries happen though, and it’s not an excuse.

But has anyone really considered the source of this? Joe Thornton is not exactly known for his toughness, and for his willingness to do the dirty work. He’s not a Ryane Clowe, or a Ryan Callahan, or a Ryan McDonagh, or (insert some guy named Ryan here). He’s a finesse player, and a superb one at that. If Clowe were calling the Rangers soft, then there might be some credence to the statement. However, coming from Thornton, the only reaction should be “eh.”


  1. becky says:

    A+ for the Roger Dorn reference alone.

  2. The Suit says:

    Great post.

  3. bob says:

    I really believe we need a Mcylrath yesterday.That would make a big difference.Obviously thats why we drafted him over others that might of had more talent at that draft position.We drafted for need.Pronger type D is very hard and/or costly to attain.Sauer was a blessing in disguise,because w/o him would of had a lot more problems.But I feel our line-up right now is one crease clearer short.We always have problems when teams plant big guys in front.If the king wasn’t that good,it would be even more noticable.And what I fear most is that one day Henrik is going to get seriously hurt.

  4. Walt says:

    Joe Thornton is a tough guy, really!! Watch out he may hit you with his purse!!!!!!! WIMP that he is.

  5. Pete says:

    Right, so if the team that drilled you 5-2 is soft what does that make your team Joe? Ridiculous, just shut your mouth and play hard.

    • MargeSchottTheSherif says:

      I recall a heavyweight bout between Joe Thornton and Eric Lindros while in a Rangers uniform. This was following that marvelous first season when Lindros had when he potted 37 and was a bulldog on the puck. Such a shame his concussion issues curtailed his dominance, otherwise the Rangers faithful would perhaps look back more fondly during his tenure on Broadway.

      In any case, when the bout with Thornton occurred, Lindros dropped the gloves, which precipitated a collective gasp of all Ranger fans, each fearing that a single punch from Thornton would not only end his days in a Rangers uniform but also end his career. In short, Lindros dropped Thornton with one or two punches, and I believe he broke his cheek-bone with the final blow. If anyone could locate this bout, by all means please share.

  6. pavel says:

    Joe Thornton thinks the Rangers are soft eh? Well this “soft” team kicked the Sharks’ asses last night so I don’t mind.

  7. Scully says:

    Sorry for the shit video, but who remembers when Eric Lindros pummeled Joe Thornton during a weekend afternoon game

    I definitely do. He broke his nose or jaw or something…