What's soft but tougher than Joe Thornton?

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What's soft but tougher than Joe Thornton?

By Justin Aucoin
WickedGoodSports.com

Not often does one see San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton say something worth quoting. Yet he let his frustration show after the Sharks lost to the New York Rangers 5-2 the other night:

"To be honest with you, they were probably the softest team we played against on this road trip."

The other teams they played on the road trip: Devils, Bruins, Predators, Red Wings and the Islanders. The Sharks won all those games. Clearly going 5 for 6 on a long road trip all over North America is horrible.

We can only imagine that Joe was actually referring to the new cashmere sweater Sean Avery will be sporting now that hes been recalled from the AHL. Regardless, the ever-quotable and easily riled-up Rangers coach John Tortorella fired back:

Joe's a heck of a player, but here's a player popping off about our team, and Joe hasn't won a goddamn 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."

Aside from the overused classless phrase that gets thrown around way too much, Tort makes a legit point. Joe Thornton has never won anything. Ever.

Oops.

Of course, Tort meant Stanley Cups. Tort has one; Thornton has none. Using that as a measuring stick for whos tougher is the hockey equivalent of whipping it out to see whos manlier.

Still, Thornton has been notorious for disappearing from the playoffs all together. Nothings tougher than the Stanley Cup Playoffs so if Thornton wants to talk softness he probably should take a gander in the mirror first.

So whats soft but still tougher than Joe Thornton?

Snuggle the Bear.

That crazy Britney Spears kid. Whoa boy.

Ricky Glass DiPietro

Bulldog puppies.

A Sedin twin.

These two cake-sharing goons.

The Montreal Canadiens err the Smurfs.

The New England Patriots secondary. Too soon?

This Patrice Bergeron goal.

Clouds.

Phil Kessel.

OK, that last one might be a bit of a stretch. Kessels costume does look super soft.

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

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Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance.