GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Sean Avery, who brings feistiness to the Rangers, is back with the team after clearing re-entry waivers at noon Tuesday. He will practice with the team Wednesday and could play Thursday against the Ducks.
Coach John Tortorella doesn't need anyone to add to his own feistiness. It was on display Tuesday when Tortorella blasted San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton for calling the Rangers soft after the Sharks' 5-2 loss at the Garden on Monday.
"It surprised me, and I've never heard a player say that," Tortorella said. "Joe's a heck of a player, but here's a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn't won a ---- 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."
Thornton, a 14-year NHL veteran, said the Rangers "were probably the softest team we played against . . . we played some good teams, and I think we probably should have beat these guys, to be honest with you."
Tortorella only would say "wonderful" when told of the comments Monday night after the game. After checking to make sure Thornton really did say it, Tortorella let fly following a "Garden of Dreams" charity event with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni at the MSG Training Center. The Rangers do not face the Sharks again this season.
Avery, 31, was assigned to Connecticut of the AHL before the season opened. He played in two games for the Whale after rehabbing a shoulder injury and had an empty-net goal and shootout goal.
Avery was added to the Rangers' roster only after the other 29 NHL teams passed on claiming him. With Mike Rupp sidelined with a left knee injury, the Rangers felt now was the time to see if the Garden fan favorite can help them. Some fans chanted, "We want Avery," as the Rangers lost to Toronto last week.
"Sean comes up and gives us some depth," Tortorella said. "I'm not sure what the lineup's going to be. Just like any time we call up a guy, we'll figure out a lineup as we prepare for Thursday."
Asked about the energy Avery can bring to the team, Tortorella said: "I think that's a big part of what he needs to do to help us here. Again, we'll go about our business and get Sean back in practice with us and we'll make our decisions as far as a lineup on Thursday."