Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sean Avery gets called up, looks to fatten the Rangers' playoff purses (chances*)

The chant of “WE WANT AVERY!” has sprung up numerous times from the crowd at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden. Well, New York Ranger fans have got their wish. Sean Avery cleared re-entry waivers, after being demoted to the minors to start the season, and has joined the team.

This news comes after the Rangers played their most impressive game of the season, beating the hot San Jose Sharks 5-2. Could it be that news of Sean Avery returning had a positive effect on the Rangers?

To kill, or not to kill? The game that is.

When Avery was demoted, many, including Avery himself, questioned head coach John Tortorella’s motives. Last season, Tortorella and Avery were reported on having a less than friendly relationship. In the fight for the final roster spot between Avery and forward Erik Christensen, Tortorella proclaimed that the decision came down to the final two preseason games. Sean Avery was a healthy scratch for both. Erik Christensen won the spot.
Sean Avery and Erik Christensen are polar opposites. Christensen is the soft player with nifty hands but not enough hockey sense to use it. His heart has been questioned, and the only thing he consistently does well is the shootout, which to his credit, might have been the reason the Rangers were a playoff team last season. Avery on the other hand, plays with the intensity and fire that we all know him for. Even with limited ice time he still managed to put up a respectable 31 points. Many though, believed that Avery had the proverbial leash put on by Tortorella, who wanted to reign in the antics.
Prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks, the Rangers had a record of 3-3-3, and were lucky to be there. Their Power Play was stagnant and many questioned the high expectations the Rangers had this season. But after one waiver wire move, the Rangers unleashed the hounds and made a superior opponent look inferior. Although the Rangers had not yet officially called Avery up yet, everyone, players included, knew he would soon return. Could the impending return of Avery have been the spark that lit the fire under the Rangers?
It's possible that Erik Christensen suddenly burst out with 2 quality assists and more fine play once he heard his job was at risk. Calling up Avery does more to threaten the jobs and ice time of the whole team than the previous call ups could have ever had. Kris Newbury and Andre Deveaux, who didn’t do too badly, are nothing more than 4
th line fills. Avery on the other hand, has the capability to take ice time away from anyone on this team. He can play on any line, and play in all situations. Although he is not liked by his coach, he is loved by his teammates, and didn’t complain about being in the minors. He played hard and did his job. The same thing he is going to do in the NHL.

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