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Posts tagged: Sean Avery

Whale Watch: Hot Hagelin

The CT Whale enter this weekend with a 1-1-2 record, similar to the Rangers but with two shootout losses on the books. For the first time this season the Whale will play a three-in-three days stretch over the weekend. This will be pretty new territory for some of the prospects on the team and without leading scorer and veteran leader Kris Newbury (tied for 2nd in the AHL in points) it will be interesting to see how the team reacts.

Up Next:

  • Friday: Manchester travel to the XL arena to take on the Whale with a 3-3 record after 6
  • Saturday: The Whale travel to Springfield to take on the Falcons who have a 3-2 record in 5
  • Sunday: Sunday sees the Whale entertain Springfield in the back end of a home and home.

Prospect Watch

Carl Hagelin has begun his campaign in impressive style. With 4 points in 4 games, an impressive +5 rating and a shorthanded goal to his name statistically speaking it couldn’t be much better for the young Swede. Hagelin has been displaying his impressive speed aplenty and will be needed to lead the offense this weekend with Newbury missing.

Chad Johnson has begun the year brilliantly and is pretty unfortunate to only have one win to his name thus far. With a 1-0-2 record the netminder still boasts a .939 save percentage and 1.85 goals against average. Bear in mind his sole victory was a 1-0 shootout win and Johnson hasn’t had much offensive support. If he gets that support the team can certainly rely on their goalie at the moment.

Aside from Hagelin, of all the (young) prospects on the Whale only Tomas Kundratek has a point to claim as his own. With one assist in 4 games the young blueliner is off to a relatively muted start and only has 2 shots through 4 games.

Ryan Bourque has already missed a game with illness/injury and in 3 games is scoreless and -2 thus far. Again noting Newbury’s absence, Bourque should have more ice time if he’s in the line-up.

Avery Factor

The circus comes to town this weekend and it will be interesting for several reasons; will Avery be a positive factor or a major distraction? Will he even be able to suit up this weekend (indications are that he will). If Avery plays he should be a difference maker at this level and could be an interesting addition to Hagelin’s line or, if Bourque moves to center on his line. Hopefully the Avery ‘addition’ to Connecticut won’t be the only storyline of their weekend.

Musings Time: McD’s Potential, Dubi Disappointing, & Another Poll

Let’s have a look at a few things together shall we? Today the Rangers look to put out some Flames and with the King playing like the King he is, confidence will be high that a win is on its way. On that confident note let’s get in to it.

Sean Avery

I couldn’t start this without discussing the Grate One could I? Sean Avery and the Rangers; it was often a marriage of convenience, sometimes a match made in heaven, but always likely to end badly. Avery is a controversial, outspoken type. Tortorella doesn’t like those types. Even the staunchest Avery fans out there; if you thought this was going to end with one (or both) riding off in to the sunset you were always mistaken. Avery does still have something to offer, but thanks to his mouth engaging before his brain he won’t get a chance to offer it – barring some strange circumstances.

New Poll – Is Torts Still The Right Coach For The Rangers?

Speaking of Avery, a couple of weeks back several of our readers were getting on us for being too critical of Sean. Suit created a poll asking everyone to vote on whether or not they were happy to see Avery waived, sort of to prove we weren’t the only ones looking at Avery with judicious eyes. The result? The fan-base was split almost 50/50.

In recent days it seems John Tortorella has taken over as the polarizing poster child for this team. So guess what? Time to vote again people!

PS- Don’t bother voting more than once. We check the logs and remove duplicates ;)

Calm Down Canada

I appreciate Rangers fans overreact to certain things – like a 3 game losing streak – but I find it amusing how the hysteria gets big quick in Toronto. I have family in Toronto and have been there countless times and it’s a great, great city. BUT, they do realise they did the same thing last year and missed the playoffs right? This is why Rangers fans needed to calm down; the Toronto example. They went 5-0 last year and fell off the radar so a 0-1-2 start by your boys was never a disaster.

Side note: By the way, I was in Toronto when the lockout season was cancelled and it was like the entire UK when Princess Diana died – a state of tangible immense national depression. That’s why I want Canada to get another franchise; they live and die our great sport.

Fantasy Revenge

I’m in a few leagues and in one I took two late round risks on Brian Campbell and Dion Phaneuf and got laughed out of the room. Campbell leads the league in assists, Phaneuf in plus/minus. Who’s laughing now?

McDonagh, Mc-doing it

I wanted Ryan McDonagh in his draft year and was left disappointed so when Sather pulled his master stroke I was naturally delighted by the potential. It’s now being realized. Kudos to Dave & The Suit, who have been referring since last season to McDonagh’s potential offense, which is often overlooked. Well he’s fast becoming a workhorse and if there was ever a benefit to the Staal injury this is it. Averaging a mighty 25+ minutes a game, 3 points and a +2 to begin the year; he’s doing it on the stat sheet, but it’s more than stats. Anyone that saw the way he moved in the offensive zone in Vancouver can’t help, but be excited by his hockey IQ and maturity.

Definition of invisible: 3 games played, no shots, no penalties, zero plus/minus, less than 7 minutes ice time per game.I’ll let you guys identify the obvious owner of this unimpressive stat line.

Disappointing Player of the Week

For the purpose of the title, assume the games so far have encompassed the first NHL week. The award goes to Brandon Dubinsky. His finishing has been dire (I could hit the net with greater frequency), his penalty count is through the roof and he simply isn’t doing anything of note. Brandon: it’s not your job to fight. As much as Gaborik, Richards and Callahan are the most important forwards on this team, this team needs Dubinsky to be much, much better.

Final thought of the day: Anyone out there still complaining the Rangers gave a try out to Ruslan Fedotenko just over a year ago? Thought not.

Tortorella, Avery Involved In He Said/He Said

The drama with Sean Avery and John Tortorella continues. Avery was candid in his comments to Katie Strang of ESPN when asked about his shot at making the Rangers and if the Rangers will ever recall him. On being recalled:

Probably not. I doubt it.

On him being given a fair shot:

I’d say it’s pretty obvious. I’ll let everyone else decide for themselves.

Tortorella, upon being made aware of these comments after the Rangers skate in Vancouver, had this to say:

I’m so busy worrying about this team. This is the first time I’ve heard about it,” Tortorella said. “We go about our business here, and I know that’s a story I’m sure that’s going to be talked about a lot, because Sean was here and very well-liked, but again I’m coaching this hockey club here. Talk to Kenny (Whale coach Ken Gernander). I don’t know what’s going on down there. So I can’t comment on it.

It’s very clear that neither like each other. We’ve covered why keeping Erik Christensen over Avery for the 13th forward spot was the right move, even if unpopular among the fanbase. It’s not something we are going to continue to dive into, but these comments are interesting nonetheless.

Keeping Erik Christensen Was The Right Move

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year, then you know that I am not a fan of Erik Christensen. I think he has tremendous skill, but is maddeningly inconsistent to the point where his value diminishes. His play frustrates me so much because he just seems so lackadaisical when he doesn’t have the puck, especially in his own end. That said, in the battle between him and Sean Avery, while my gut said Avery, my brain says that keeping Christensen was the right move.

The first reason here is the salary: Christensen simply makes less money, and the $1 million difference will go a long way to patching some holes in this lineup to make a playoff run. For a player who is likely going to be a healthy scratch for 40 games, there was no point in keeping Avery and his $1.9 million salary. Christensen’s $925k salary is an easier pill to swallow from the press box.

Avery, while popular with the fans, lost his touch. He is no longer the 15 goal guy, and he no longer agitates opponents regularly. There is no one to blame here but Avery himself, and any finger pointing to John Tortorella is unjust, because Avery has been given his fair share of opportunities. Yes, he is a blue collar guy, but he just can’t do what he used to do. He scored three goals last year. Three.

The general argument for keeping Avery is that he draws penalties. Looking deeper into this stat, it was true at one point, but simply is not true anymore. Luckily, the guys at Behind The Net keep track of such statistics, so there’s the ability to use numbers to defend this argument. In the table below, we see Avery’s penalties taken per 60 minutes (PTake/60) and his penalties drawn per 60 minutes (PDrawn/60). The numbers don’t lie.

Season PTake/60 PDrawn/60












As the table shows, Avery has been drawing just .1 more penalties for each one taken in the past two years. Simply put, Avery draws 11 penalties for every 10 he takes. That is not a good enough reason to keep him around. When Avery was the most effective, he was drawing one extra penalty for each one he took (2007-2008, 2008-2009). Regardless of what you want to say about phantom calls and swallowing the whistle when it comes to Avery, the fact is that he is not as effective as he used to be, whether by his fault or by others.

Even GVT and PVT work against Avery here. Christensen had a 5.4 GVT (1.8 PVT) last season, while Avery had a 2.5 GVT (.833 PVT). By those numbers, having Christensen with the team will give the Rangers an extra point in the standings at the end of the season. The numbers tell the story: Christensen was the right person to keep.

Hallå Musings Day!

This may be my favourite edition of Musings, even more so than Becky’s fine effort. Why you ask? Because as you read this I am sipping the first vodka and coke on my flight to Stockholm! Hallå!!! That’s hello in Swedish, though I’m sure you could have guessed. Anyway, following a busy few days and an even busier few to come, let’s get to it.

Sean Avery I. I couldn’t start this without mentioning the former Ranger. Waived, gone but not forgotten. Assuming he never plays a game in red white and blue again I’ll think of Avery for what could have been. He could have been a great agitator who made an impact every game but that simply wasn’t the fact.

Sean Avery II: A good impact (a la Wade Redden) or a bad impact (a la Patrick Rissmiller) down on the farm?

Quiet preseason? Doesn’t matter. Have any of you got any concerns about Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle? Thought not. Core players that only poor health could stop productive years.

Kings Watch: Player I’m most excited to watch? Dustin Brown. Not Anze Kopitar, not Drew Doughty. I want to see how physical he really is or whether a lot of his big rep is media talk.

Ducks Watch: I am ridiculously excited to see Teemu Selanne in person. Along with Jaromir Jagr (RIP) he is the greatest scorer Europe ever produced, to this point.

From the limited exposure I had to the pre-season, I thought Brendan Bell looked good enough that he didn’t warrant being waived, especially under the circumstances (injuries).

Dale Weise won’t be missed. I was a fan of the guy but there are plenty of players that can play in the bottom six still in the organisation, and he didn’t stand out in the few chances he got so good luck to him in riot land Vancouver.

Me, all me! To some of you this isn’t much but I’m pretty chuffed (you have that word in the US?) that I get to watch the Rangers 4 times in person in the next 6 weeks. For a Brit-Ranger-fan, that’s pretty damn cool.

I’m delighted Tim Erixon is getting a chance on opening night. I’m distraught the Rangers are apparently looking at Paul Mara though. That ship has sailed folks. He can come back to grow a beard in April though.

Sweden is an expensive place to drink. I am currently not feeling well (doctor actually advised me to stay home)…. but you can be rest assured that I will be doing my damndest to have a damn fine weekend. My wallet is shaking with fear.

Brandon Dubinsky on the top line is the right call. On the current roster he’s the best option with his style. It’s a shame the Dubi-Artie-Cally line get’s split up but if Artem Anisimov carries his form on and Callahan well, plays like he usually does, then whoever ends up on the left (Feds?) won’t struggle. The beauty of this roster is that there is a lot of flexibility.

I’m going to provide some pictures over the next few days of the globe and of Stockholm and any Ranger stuff that’s interesting; if I can get past my technophobia.

  • Prediction one: Erik Christensen will not finish the season with the Rangers.
  • Prediction two: Ryan Bourque will finish the season with the Rangers.
  • Game one prediction: Rangers 4 Kings 3 (calling Gabby for the GWG)
  • Game two prediction: Rangers 3 Ducks 2 (OT) (Wolski with the GWG – don’t laugh)

See you soon peeps; and wish me safe travels. GO RANGERS!!!!

Quick Roster Notes

There has been a flurry of activity the past 24 hours, so let’s quickly summarize everything in one post:

  • Sean Avery was placed on waivers yesterday and cleared. He has been assigned to the CT Whale. There is no known timetable for him to report or for him to seek other options.
  • Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell were placed on waivers yesterday as well.  Both cleared, but will remain with the roster until further notice. This is similar to what the Rangers did with Todd White last season.
  • Tim Erixon has been recalled. He will be at practice tomorrow and will play this weekend.
  • To make room for Erixon, Marc Staal has been placed on IR. This is also a move to save a little bit of cap space while he deals with his post concussion symptoms. There is no timetable for his return.

Also, the forward lines for Friday appear to be set:

Brandon Dubinsky-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Wojtek Wolski-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Mike Rupp-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust

The defense pairings are still relatively unknown, as Erixon has not arrived in Sweden yet.

Breaking News: Sean Avery To Be Waived

Looks like Erik Christensen has won the battle for the final roster spot.  Sean Avery will be waived by the New York Rangers.  Avery was a healthy scratch for the last two preseason games, and many, including myself, thought it was so that cocah John Tortorella could get a longer look at what they had in Christensen.  It turns out that they liked what they had in Christensen, even if his blown defensive coverage led to the decisive goal during yesterday’s game.

Avery will be waived and can be sent to the CT Whale.  His days in New York were numbered, but I don’t think anyone expected them to be over before the season even started.

Update 11:30am: While I am not a fan of Christensen (he is way too inconsistent and seems complacent in his own end), I can see his value in the shootout. Avery did nothing to earn a spot on the team. Avery’s cap hit made him the easier cut, and Christensen is the lesser of two dead-weight evils.

For a complete breakdown of the pros and cons of Sean Avery’s departure, click here.

Sean Avery’s Days May Be Numbered

At today’s practice, Jesse Spector noted that Sean Avery was not skating with the first group, but with the second group on a line with Erik Christensen and Dale Weise.  The first group comprised what I can only assume will be the starting lineup on Day One:

Wojtek Wolski-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Mike Rupp-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust

Avery is notably missing from these combinations, which was to be expected.  Naturally, you can assume that Avery will be the 13th forward, and will replace someone who is hurt or struggling.  But as for a regular spot in the lineup, there aren’t many, if any, candidates for Avery to replace.  The only person that Avery really has any business replacing is Zuccarello, and that’s only if he can’t seem to cut it with regular playing time.

While Avery may not find his way to the CT Whale –that seems reserved for Christensen, it seems that his days on Broadway are numbered.

What A Focussed Sean Avery Means

A successful Sean Avery makes the Rangers much deeper and it’s possibly in everyone’s interest that it happens. That sentence is a fact and believe it or not it’s probably in the prospect’s vying with Avery’s interest too. Why? Competition breeds performance and Avery is a competitor. It’s hard to imagine Avery will give up his roster spot without a fight.

An on-form Avery can be moved around the line up to create favourable match-ups. We know what he can bring this team when he’s on his game (the sand paper, the hustle, the added skill) but it’s the fact he can play effectively on any kind of line whether it be a scoring or checking one that makes him especially useful.

The fact he enters this year’s camp playing for both his immediate and long term future (if there’s even one to play for) should be a good thing. It should act as motivation for Avery and he’s better when there’s a carrot being dangled and this carrot is no Vogue intern-ship. If day one is anything to go by (though in all honesty it’s far, far too early to draw any kind of picture of how camp will go) then Avery’s impressive performance bodes well.

Imagine a fourth line of Avery – Boyle – Prust or even Avery – Christensen – Rupp. There are a million combinations that you could list as a potential fourth line and having guys like Avery and Rupp that far down the line-up highlight the potential depth the Rangers could have. Avery against most team’s fourth lines represents a mismatch in favour of the Rangers – providing he’s focussed and makes the team. How Avery goes through training camp is definitely a subplot to watch.

Training Camp Full of Questions

Training Camp Is Here.  Training camp starts today and day 1 is the day that all the players fear the most. As some of the beat writers have already discussed, day one is basically ‘The Test’. It’s where Coach Tortorella runs his players in to the ground. Torts’ camps are legendary and it all begins with the first day. That said, training camp is about so much more for the team than just fitness. Here are a few things that are worth monitoring going through camp.

How many rookies will force their way on to the roster?

The Rangers camp will be different this year because of the European trip.  It affects how many players the Rangers take to Europe with them and could influence how many rookies/prospects have a legitimate chance to make the team from the outset. Tim Erixon seems to have a spot to lose; he’d have to be seriously outplayed by at least 2 players or show that he isn’t physically ready for a Torts camp.

Carl Hagelin has a legitimate chance to make his Rangers debut in his homeland too. He showed skill and great speed in Traverse but his immediate future may be tied to the upcoming camp performances of Christensen and Avery.

The dark horse, which I have maintained all along, is Ryan Bourque. Bourque remained relatively healthy last season and followed up that with a good, if not great Traverse City tourney. He displayed speed and a lot of skill to go with his undoubted team first attitude and terrific work ethic. He seems an ideal option if the Rangers insist on going younger in the bottom 6.

Beyond the Swedes and the Hall of Famer’s son, it would take a remarkable training camp for another rookie to force his way on to the plane to Sweden. The Rangers have a ton of depth but not a lot of vacancies (despite a lot of talent developing in the system) so aren’t likely to rush any prospects unless their play demands promotion.

Join us after the jump for plenty more camp questions.

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