“I know what’s been asked of me, so whenever I get my next opportunity that’s certainly the thing I’m going to have to do. I’m gonna keep that to myself.”
Ever since John Tortorella became head coach, Sean Avery hasn’t been himself. At his best, Avery is an agitator, who can chip in scoring. He can make plays, with his mouth and with his stick. For all his antics, he actually is a really good player.
But, we saw that good player under Tom Renney. Renney didn’t have a leash on Avery. He let him go. That’s part of the problem with Renney. Some said he was too soft. Not on Avery.
So, when Torts was brought in, we all thought he would bring accountability. And he has, to some degree. He benched Avery after his antics in Game 4 of the Washington series (I was at that game. It wasn’t that bad. And the Rangers won, so who cares? But I digress). He’s benching him after his recent bad play.
But, Avery hasn’t been himself. He’s not being as physical. He’s not chatting up the other players. And he’s not scoring. Watch this video:
While I still disagree with what Avery did, it serves a greater point. He was agitating the other team, and then he scored. That was a classic Avery shift (side note: I love when Drury sort of punches Avery, telling him to stop screen Brodeur like that. People say he’s an awful captain, but that’s what a captain does). When Avery was on that 5-on-3, he was in the front of the net, making things happen. He doesn’t do that anymore. And part of it is because of Torts.
I think Torts has been an okay coach for the Rangers. But, his odd way of reprimanding Avery for playing his game, has cost the Rangers points. Why do you think the Rangers have such a bad home record? When Avery is at his best, the crowd is fired up. The crowd hasn’t been fired up lately.
We’ll see what this Avery benching does, to the team and to Sean. If it’s just one game, how will Avery respond? Will he come back as his self? Or will he try to impress Torts, and play a conservative game? So much for Safe is Death.