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Posts tagged: Sean Avery

Avery talks about pushing buttons

Sean Avery did an interview with TSN’s Off The Record where he addressed his NHL career, specifically his on-ice role as an agitator. Avery also addressed the general hatred for him in his own locker room, and he had some colorful remarks for that:

“what I do is try to push people s buttons constantly. If I ignored you then I probably had no interest in you whatsoever.

[snip]

there were many times where I had distasteful things to say to teammates, friends, families over my 12 year career. I said some of the worst things that you could possibly imagine being said and every time I did it was because I thought it would give me, or my time an advantage on a daily basis. I was extremely good at it, successful at it.”

It’s interested to see Avery addressed it so openly, but then again brutal honesty was always a part of Avery’s persona. Ranger fans loved Avery for his on-ice antics, but as his effectiveness wore off, so did his usefulness. There’s a reason he’s retired now.

Avery to retire?

Update 3:00pm: Per Larry Brooks, looks like he will retire when his contract expires.

Update 12:10pm: Per Mark Spector, Avery’s agent Pat Morris has denied that Avery has retired.

It looks like Sean Avery may be considering retirement. Per NHL.com, Avery was partaking in an After Show on Bravo TV, and when asked about his hockey future:

Avery said Monday night during an After Show segment of Bravo TV’s Watch What Happens Live that he was leaving the game. When asked about his hockey future, Avery said, “I am officially retired. I threw my skates in the Hudson.”

This is not surprising for Avery. The Rangers were the only team to give him a third chance in the NHL when they claimed him off re-entry waivers in 2009. He was not the player the Rangers traded for in 2007, showing that his reputation was too much to overcome. He was no longer the agitator that through the opposition off their game, he was no longer the penalty drawer that made him so valuable. He became a spare part, and was thus sent to the AHL.

When he arrived in the AHL, Avery could have been another Wade Redden. A player that the kids could look up to and could learn from. He did not take that road. Instead, Avery was suspended for disciplinary reasons, then was made a healthy scratch for the remainder of the season. When the Clearing Day rosters were announced, Avery was left off the Whale’s roster.

So this is an unceremonious end to the Sean Avery era in the NHL. There will be no jersey retirement, there will be no tears amongst the masses. There will still be those that cry foul, but Avery did this to himself.

I liked Avery in 2007, I even liked what he could bring in 2009. But he did not bring that. He is not the player he once was, his reputation getting in the way of his effectiveness. It’s too bad really.

Musings: The Grate, The Gaborik and The Girardi

Welcome to Thursday. It’s my 6th favourite day of the week. Rangers get to mix it up with the Senators tonight. Given the mixed performances in recent games it could a tricky one for the Blueshirts. Any-hoo, let’s jump in to it shall we?

I’d be remiss not to mention him this week: Sean Avery not on the Whale Clearing day roster. He divides opinion and certainly, his on-ice play (while at times highly effective) didn’t deserve all the media attention he got but I can’t help but think he could found a better way to leave this organisation – especially given his apparent relationship with Sather. He truly does burn all his bridges doesn’t he? He’s gone from being a highly promising Ranger to an afterthought. Shame.

I can’t help but think, given the Rangers play in their own zone in recent games, that Lundqvist should start both Thursday and Friday while the team get their play in front of him back on track. Let Biron start a handful of games toward the end of the year.

Anyone else thinks Michael Del Zotto would have a little more hype around the league (as a young offensive blueliner) were it not for the ridiculous Erik Karlsson? This season has seen a number of young defensemen really solidify their reputations: Karlsson, Del Zotto, Edler, Pieterangelo and Shattenkirk and even Nick Leddy have all become quality ‘D’ this year.

  • Quietly perhaps but I can help thinking Brad Richards has been better of late. Who knows, maybe he’s gearing up towards the ‘second season’?
  • I really would love to hear the full explanation from Tortorella regarding Mitchell’s scratch because he sure hasn’t been worse than a handful of forwards I could name.

Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka – at this stage they really are dead weight. That said, I think one of them may have a minor role still to play. Either Dan Girardi is injured (not bruised) or he’s tiring. As Glen (who contributes on the site) and I agree, his high standards seem to have slipped recently. Have all those minutes taken their toll?

Despite a pretty unfortunate game against the Devils, Marian Gaborik has been impressive recently. There seems plenty left in his tank. His burst is still getting him past defensemen. I still think he hit’s 40 goals this year – a milestone his effort would warrant. He’s been pretty damn consistent all year even when he hasn’t scored for a stretch.

Artem Who?

So Brandon Dubinsky scraps against the Devils and has to leave the game as a consequence. Right, so with Scott, Rupp, Bickel and Prust in the line-up he feels the need to get amongst it? File this under yet more unintelligent play this year from Dubinsky. That’s taking ‘setting the tone’ too far.

Michael Del Zotto and Derek Stepan: reason alone to love the 2008 NHL draft. That said, three other Ranger draft picks have made the NHL when you factor in Weise, Grachev and Kundratek and if Steven Fogerty develops it could be a highly successful draft. Again. Hold on, it already is.

As I write this, ESPN America (in the UK) just showed a highlight reel Lundqvist save between programmes. He’s taking over the TV here too.

Question Time:

  • Who would you rather as a first round opponent: Ottawa, Winnipeg, Capitals or Jersey?
  • Who are the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs loom?
  • Should the Rangers take a look at a player from the Whale before the playoffs?
  • (inc playoffs) How many games will Chris Kreider play for the Rangers this season?
  • Will Tim Erixon be Rangers property next season?

I want to give some credit to a forgotten player in the organisation: Chad Johnson. Let’s face it, he’s likely to leave in the summer to look for NHL opportunities but he’s had a pretty good bounce back year for the Whale this season. A .922% and a 2.34GAA, with 18 wins is a pretty strong season. Unfortunately for CJ the Rangers have Marty Biron.

Zuccarello who?

One final thing; despite posts about needing more skill (and going out and acquiring it) and posts about Rick Nash and him helping the Rangers I am a strong supporter at what Sather and his team have built since the lock out. The club have built patiently in exactly the right way and Sather, the scouting department and the coaching staff (in which I include Renney’s contribution) have reinvigorated what was a tarnished franchise. The difference is I believe they can help the club – whose development has been quicker than expected – get to where they want to get a little quicker with a few smart decisions this summer.

Enjoy your Thursday and Lets Go Rangers! 

Whale announce playoff roster: No Sean Avery

In what really shouldn’t be shocking news, Sean Avery was left off the Connecticut Whale’s playoff roster. “Clear Day” passed this week, and rosters had to be set by then. No additions or subtractions can be made from these playoff rosters. Notably off the roster was Avery, who had been a healthy scratch for the past several weeks. Instead of taking the high road like Wade Redden, Avery chose to force his way off the roster.

Consider Mr. Avery’s tenure with the New York Rangers organization finished. The full roster for the Whale’s playoff run is after the jump.

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Avery Having Disciplinary Issues

Per Katie Strang, Sean Avery was scratched from last night’s Connecticut Whale game due to “disciplinary reasons.” This news comes after some nasty rumors regarding Avery ignoring fans (stress the “rumors” there…no real proof).

I had a quick conversation with Brian Ring, who covers the Whale, in October for Avery’s first stint and he noted that Avery was a likeable guy in the locker room, and was more in the Wade Redden mentor mold than he was the Patrick Rissmiller locker room cancer. That was a good sign, as it appeared that Avery had not taken his time in the AHL out on the kids there. Redden has been a class act, and Avery was following in his footsteps.

“Disciplinary reasons” can mean a lot of things both positive and negative. There’s not much to read into this, but it’s worth noting…especially for a player who has now been sent to the AHL twice in one season.

Could the Whale and Rangers Both Make Noise?

With potential reinforcements on the way from a multitude of levels the Whale could look quite stacked come regular season’s end and entering the playoffs. The potential for the Whale to win their second Calder Cup is realistic with a bit of luck. Why? Look at the possible line up.

Amid fresh rumours of Sean Avery having another chance at the NHL level the fact remains he’s still a Whale player and according to Glen Sather that won’t change soon. Sean Avery is still an NHL player in terms of ability so over the course of his stay with the Whale it’s fair to expect results.

With his fresh ‘demotion’, one has to assume Erik Christensen can make a solid impact in his conditioning assignment with the Whale and that should help them really strengthen themselves during the regular season. Like Avery, Christensen is an NHL player playing a level below, again one would expect solid results at the AHL level.

Then you have the numbers game that is playing out on the New York defense. While the demoted player may not make it down because of waivers, there is a good chance that the Whale will get one of Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger or Jeff Woywitka to use at some point this season. If (when) Mike Sauer gets healthy the Rangers won’t leave multiple defensemen wasting away in the press box and conditioning stints or demotions become a real possibility. Right now, any of these three – who have all made solid contributions at the NHL level this year – would improve the Whale.

There’s more to come. Looking at the Rangers prospects playing in junior there remains a chance the Whale get reinforcements through this route too. Christian Thomas has improved as the year has progressed (37 points in 29 games) but his Oshawa Generals are outside the playoffs right now and stuck in neutral. A much anticipated prospect, Thomas may find himself with the Whale earlier than he may have hoped this season.

Another junior candidate that could help the Whale and taste pro hockey this year is Shane McColgan whose Kelowna team are close to the playoff cut off line. While they are ‘in’ right now, other teams have games in hand and with a losing record, there’s no guarantee the Rockets can string together enough good performances to stay in the playoff spots.

Perhaps a positive sign for the way Rangers prospect development is trending in recent times is how so many players are currently playing on strong clubs. Mike St Croix, Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller and the Peterborough Petes’ Andrew Yogan and Peter Ceresnak are all battling for top spots in their respective leagues’ conferences. These players, like Chris Kreider with Boston College are unlikely to see time in the AHL because it’s likely some, if not all, could have deep playoff runs at their respective levels.

Meanwhile, the Whale may soon get a player back who is both a former Ranger as well as Ranger hopeful. Chad Kolarik is slowly working his way back to full health and could be a factor this season. Last year, through strong play in Connecticut Kolarik forced his way in to four games for the Rangers (one assist). Should the Whale be able to call on him and the aforementioned list of talented young players, they would have a very deep and talented squad to ice. There’s even still a slight chance of Wojtek Wolski making his way to the Whale at some point too. Not often an AHL club gets to ice a former 60 point NHL player.

It’s early to tell what the Whale will look like come playoff time and with the NHL trade deadline still approaching there’s certainly a lot of moving parts to consider but with a team consisting of established AHL’ers such as Kris Newbury, Mats Zuccarello, Pavel Valentenko and fast developing Jonathan Audy-Marchessault not to mention players such as Brendan Bell, Tim Erixon, Wade Redden and Chad Johnson, adding any combination of the aforementioned prospects and NHL pros makes this a promising campaign the tier below New York. Two Cups in one year? Why not.

Not So Breaking News: Sean Avery Placed On Waivers

As predicted here, Sean Avery has been waived by the Rangers. This is a salary cap move, as Avery and his $1.9 million salary needs to be cleared, especially if he’s not even playing.

We covered this here, here, here, here, and here. I’m actually incredibly sick of this topic. Avery has become bigger than the team, which is impressive considering he’s a fourth liner. He barely played, and was a healthy scratch. Mike Rupp’s return made this inevitable.

Expect Avery To Be Waived When Wolski Is Activated

 Update 6:45pm: Per commenter Adam, he noted that only Staal is on LTIR, not Wolski. So the cap information here is irrelevant. Only roster space needs to be cleared. I still think Avery is the one to go, but it could be Erik Christensen as well.

The holiday roster freeze ends tomorrow, and the Rangers will have several moves to make to not only free up space for players returning from injury, but to free up the cap space that is required to activate those players. While most of the focus will be on the blue line –and rightfully so– there will be some movement among the forwards as well.

The roster move that is going to have major implications for the Rangers is the activation of Wojtek Wolski, who has been making significant progress on his sports hernia injury. He was skating earlier this month, and the rumors were that he could be back this week. That means his $3.8 million salary comes off LTIR, and the Rangers will need to clear space to get there.

The activation of Wolski also means that the Rangers will have 24 players on the roster, not including players on LTIR. The NHL roster limit is 23 players, so right there the Rangers have to make moves to get under that limit. Since there are 15 forwards on the roster right now, including Wolski, a forward will have to be demoted. To clear the cap space, only one roster move among the forwards needs to be made, and it’s the simple move of waiving Sean Avery (GASP!).

All sarcasm aside, waiving Avery is the only move that makes sense. It clears cap space and roster space for Wolski. It is the only move that can be made to clear enough room for Wolski. In fact, it may not be enough. Tim Erixon and his $1.75 million salary may also need to be returned to the CT Whale to make room.

Those two moves will leave the Rangers with 14 forwards and 6 defensemen on the roster. Now of course, it is going to be VERY interesting to see what the Rangers do to clear room for Marc Staal and his $3.975 million salary.

With Slumping Offense Comes Change – Dubi?

Amid a scoring slump of sorts (2 games is hardly a crisis) Coach Tortorella once again swapped up his lines during the Blues game. On one occasion Carl Hagelin played opposite Marian Gaborik. With all the line changes comes speculation about the who, what, where and why’s.

Perhaps the main thing the Rangers didn’t do well against the Blues was stick to their own game. The team needs to get back to basics in the next game against Phoenix. The game against the Coyotes should signal a few changes as the Rangers need to get some snarl back and improve their overall effort. Examples may need to be made and the game should call for the inclusion of Sean Avery and Mike Rupp. There should be more ice time to Carl Hagelin whose sole mission should be to harass the puck carrier.

They need to throw the puck on net and crash the net as much as possible. What went on in St Louis was not nearly enough in regards to offense generated and the last two games have been the result of slipping play in recent games. The Rangers have had an up and down couple of weeks with some good and some bad performances.

Will Tortorella bench Brandon Dubinsky at some stage? Despite being a Dubinsky fan it’s a move I have called for, for a while. It’s becoming a serious issue. He’s well off his normal level of play and he needs a game out of the line up. While Dubinsky isn’t the only player underperforming (Brian Boyle, Fedotenko both come to mind for starters) he is the most critical element of what is going wrong.

The Rangers, especially right now, need Dubinsky to be better, much better. He’s an integral secondary scorer that simply isn’t scoring (the occasional assist doesn’t count). When the Gaborik line is being shut down so much pressure turns to Richards and Callahan to score as Fedotenko (on their line) has never been relied on for offense. So with no Dubinsky offense, the depth is tested.

It’s getting to the stage of the season where Dubinsky’s bad year threatens to undermine everything good about the year so far. His bad year threatens to adversely affect the great start to the season. He needs to be a factor going forward. I don’t buy into the apparent annual team slump around this time of year. It’s a different team with different players. What I do buy into is making changes to proactively impact players’ form. Let the players characterised by work effort and determination play. Get back to being a relentless fore-checking team and for that, at least right now, Dubi needs to sit.

Comparing Avery’s And Christensen’s Ice Time

When looking at the raw ice time numbers, there are a lot of conclusions drawn about the ice time given to Sean Avery (over the last few games) and Erik Christensen (last night). There were a few angry tweets from what appears to be the majority of fans thinking that Avery got the shaft because he received so little ice time, while Christensen is clearly favored because of the ice time he got last night.

Looking at the total ice time, it’s easy to see why people would jump to those conclusions. In Buffalo, Avery received just six shifts for a grand total of 3:48 of ice time. Last night at the Garden, Christensen received 16 shifts for a total of 12:54 in ice time. Looking at those numbers alone, it would appear that Christensen indeed has more favor with the coach than Avery. But looking deeper at the numbers, that’s not exactly true.

Against the Sabres, Avery played each of his six shifts at even strength, and did not receive one shift on the powerplay or on the penalty kill. Two shifts at even strength per period is exactly what is expected of a fourth line player who does not receive –or deserve– any time on special teams, especially in a game that was not decided until the third period. That in itself is why Avery’s ice time appears to be diminished.

Looking at Christensen, it’s easy to see why he has more ice time: he plays the powerplay. In last night’s win over Florida, the Rangers had three powerplays. One went the full two minutes, one went 1:08, and the last one went 1:55. That’s a total of 5:03 of powerplay time for the Rangers throughout the game. Christensen received an extra 1:29 of powerplay time. That plays into his extra ice time.

Another aspect of his increased ice time last night: The Rangers blew out the Panthers. The game was decided long before the third period began, so coach John Tortorella began playing his fourth line more often. In a non-blowout situation, a coach generally rolls his lines in a 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4 pattern. What that means is that he will play his first line, second line, and third line in a row. Then he will start again with his first line, and go through to his fourth line. This rotation generally repeats itself.

*-Naturally there is more to this (matchups, special teams), but for the sake of this post I’m simplifying it.

With the game out of reach for the Panthers, Tortorella ditched the usual rotation and rolled his fourth line more often, giving Christensen more ice time late in the second period and for the entirety of the third period. This explains his 11:25 of even strength TOI.

Let’s remember that before Christensen wound up a healthy scratch, his last game was the 2-1 loss to Florida last month. He played just 8:01 during the game, with 6:05 coming at even strength. That’s an extra two shifts over Avery’s ice time from Buffalo. This was Christensen’s first game in a month, where Avery played in each of the games that he was a healthy scratch.

Let’s also remember that these are fourth line players, and neither will be with the club next year. Perspective is important too.