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Friday, 4 November 2011

Do the Rangers need Sean Avery, does the NHL?

Hey all, I'm back! Sorry for the lack of posts over the last week and a bit, it's been a crazy week, but i'm back to blogging so here we go!

Ever heard of the name Sean Avery? If you have ever watched an NHL game in your entire life it's likely that you have heard the name. But "Who is Sean Avery?" He is a super-pest playing for the New York Rangers who's gotten under everyone's skin including his own team, management and coaches. October 4th was the day the Rangers shocked the NHL by putting Avery on waivers after he failed to make the team out of training camp, Avery cleared waivers and was sent down to the AHL. "I think we have better players than Sean Avery -- plain and simple," Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday. "I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp." It seemed like all hope was lost, Avery had lost favour with his head coach and was sent to the minors! But just 3 days ago Avery cleared re-entry waivers and was recalled by the Rangers, Avery was eligible the be in the line-up on Thursday night, but Tortorella chose not to "disrupt" team chemistry, and leave Avery out of the line-up. 

Avery, now 31, signed with the Detroit Red Wing as an un-drafted prospect in 1999. He played his first full season in 2001-2002 a year the Red Wings won a Stanley Cup, BUT Avery did not play in the required amount of regular season games (40) so didn't qualify to have his name engraved on the Cup. From Detroit he went to Los Angeles, where he spent 4 seasons in the spotlight, from there he went to the New York Rangers, spent one uneven season with the Rangers and went to the Dallas Stars. He only spent one season with the Stars and then returned to the Rangers. Since 2009, Avery has been with the New York Rangers. One thing is sure Avery has never been shy of the attention of the media, time after time, Avery is in trouble for something; whether it be his "sloppy seconds" comments, his comments during games to opposing players or being trashed by the media, there is always a story about Avery somewhere. They even made a special rule for Sean Avery after his infamous "screening" tactics against goaltender Martin Brodeur in the playoffs.
In 565 career NHL games Avery has 87 goals, 157 assists for 244 points and a whopping 1,512 penalty minutes. 

Despite Avery's rather small size (5 foot 10, 200 pounds) he is one of the league's best and worst agitators.
Despite the many teams he has played for, he never once helped them win a Stanley Cup and rarely helps turn the game in his teams favour with his antics, which begs the question; Do the New York Rangers really need Sean Avery?

This is a very complicated question, with no real "straight" answer. In a way, they do need Avery not because of his contributions on the ice, but to keep the fans happy. The Rangers haven't been playing well since they sent Avery down, so the fans decided to start chanting "We Want Avery" during the Rangers home opener. Like it or not many fans seem to like Avery. I can't stand him and wish he wasn't playing in the NHL, I'm tired of his antics and his conduct both on and off the ice. Isn't it funny that every time he's been charged with something or needed to be disciplined nothing happened and all charges were dropped? Sorry done my little rant. But some fans seem to like the way Avery plays and what he adds to the game. So to keep the fans happy and buying tickets, the Rangers need Avery, he draws the fans out, and everyone wants to see what Avery will do next. Now there are 2 stats that fans of Avery like to see; with Avery in the line-up the Rangers are 129-89-3, but let's remember that stat is over 5 years of having Avery. Despite the nice numbers all time, if you look at the numbers in the last 2 seasons 68-63-14 barely a 500. team but without Avery in the line-up the stats change drastically to, 14-3-2 winning more than 70% of the games. We have to take into account that Avery is now 31 and has made many enemies in the NHL, and many players  and teams are adapting their styles for when they face Avery, so they don't get sucked into penalties and what not. When Avery was in his prime there was no question he was a major part of the success for the Rangers as they went 61-26-17 before the last couple of seasons. Avery is not the same player he used to be, will it help spark the Rangers having Avery back in the line-up maybe a little maybe not, the end result is he will never be a top 6 forward and will never help his team win a Stanley Cup.
Another aspect fans are forgetting is, Tortorella is under no obligation to put Avery in the line-up, he could very well spend most of the season in the press box instead of on the ice. From all accounts Avery and Tororella have a very bad relationship, Tortoella doesn't like Avery and that's not about to change anytime soon, a word to the wise, never get on your coaches bad side, he controls if you get on the ice! The major reason that Avery was recalled is that Mike Rupp is out of the line-up and the Rangers need Avery to fill his spot, which means no guaranteed ice time, or a permanent spot in the line-up for the foreseeable future. Don't expect Avery to be given different treatment this time around compared to the last 5 seasons he played for the Rangers, nothing has changed; he is still the same incomplete player who wasn't good enough to make the team and the same player that Tortorella dislikes with a passion. So no I don't think Avery is the solution to the Rangers slow start, he will likely not be responsible for goal scoring slump ending , at the most he can spark the club and fill in a 10 minutes a night while Mike Rupp recovers. Avery is a small piece to a very large complex puzzle that is the New York Rangers, and to tell the truth the puzzle looks just fine with Avery's piece missing.

The next question... does the NHL need Sean Avery? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no. He is a troublesome person who doesn't provide much to the NHL. In a time where the NHL is trying to eliminate concussions and dirty/cheap players I don't believe there is much room for Avery. Give Tortorella credit, he has helped Avery tone down his game, but ultimately Avery is not needed in the NHL. He is a cheap little player, that does not really bring anything major to the game. But Avery is a walking talking publicity hoarder, and that could be good for the NHL. The NHL is not the most popular sport in the USA and could use some news from Avery, like during his time in Los Angeles when he was a mini celebrity. But the NHL does not put up with players being in the spot light outside of hockey, which is another reason Avery can't be in the NHL. He's a distraction and goes against what hockey stands for, playing a fair and honest game. Colin Campbell said of him “Mr. Avery has besmirched the reputation of all NHL players, coaches, general managers and owners who, collectively, have been successful in providing a more entertaining game for our fans.” Many a time, have people close to the game (former coaches, GM's, TV people) come out and said Sean Avery has no respect for the game of hockey and the NHL. His lack of respect shows in his character both and off the ice. There are many other agitators in the game that provide more than a 30 second comedy show and actually help their team accomplish things; win in the playoffs, win Stanley cups and turn the momentum in a game. Take Mike Brown for example, he is one of the Toronto Maple Leaf's enforcers but he is still putting up points and scoring goals, it makes teams think twice about covering him. He can fight, hit, and score its a pretty nasty combo. Avery skates around the ice and sees what kind of trouble he can find or start, but in the middle of a scrum Avery normally takes off right as his teammates get there, he starts the fight but doesn't finish it. I'm sorry but this is not the type of player the NHL wants playing in the league, he may help sell a few tickets and bring some fans out but it is a rare occasion that a young child says "I want to be just like Sean Avery when I grow up, I'll play just like him" sorry but I'm not hearing that.
Like it or not Sean Avery's time in the NHL is coming to an end, this could be his last chance to prove himself during this stint with the Rangers. Avery had to clear waivers before returning to the Rangers, which means any 29 of the other teams could have scooped him up, but not one of them did, meaning no other team wants the headache that is Sean Avery. A small factor that the NHL has to take into affect is the referrees, they are likely getting fed up with Sean Avery and all his antics and the trouble he causes. Avery rarely gets any calls in his favour and most are against him, and his team. Refs don't like players like Avery and will do anything they can to put him in the box and shut him up for 2 minutes. Refs get fed up with clowns quickly, maybe refs will start refusing to ref a game that Avery is playing in due to all the trouble he causes, maybe the NHL will have to give those refs danger pay.

Can you tell I don't like Avery? He has no respect for the game and is just a clown, I don't picture the NHL being any different that it currently is without Sean Avery. It's time for Avery to take his final pay check and ride off into the sunset. The Rangers and the NHL do not need Sean Avery

Stay tune for a bonus blog coming your way on Saturday, thanks for reading!

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