Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest Blog: Good-Bye to Avery? Debating the Scenario…

This is a Guest Blog as part of the current competition we are running here on Puck Central   

by  Bill Pulice

I have read in numerous articles that Sean Avery will have to earn a spot this year.  Utterly absurd!  Other articles say he is expendable now that Tim Kennedy is in the fold.  Tim Kennedy?  OK… Don’t get me wrong, as much as this was a classic Sather pick-up (the crescent side of Sather) – Kennedy was a no brainer pick-up for the price with some good upside as a player – this move is not the problem with Avery and the Rangers.

With these rumors swirling and Avery’s professed desire and love to play for the Rangers, he will have as much motivation in camp this year as anyone.  The fans love him (except those with short memories or extremely high moral values) and the Teflon GM is a big supporter of Avery’s attributes as well.  So where does the problem lie…


Well there are two issues at hand that are generating this topic.  First is the current coach of the Broadway Blueshirts.  Coach Tortarella expressed his displeasure with the “Avery package” during a few of his TSN appearances while waiting for a coaching job.  He came into this job not liking Avery and in my view has still not given him fair opportunities as promised. 

Let us remember (painful and embarrassing as it was) the Capital series when Avery was buzzing all over the MSG ice when his overzealous actions unfortunately led to a few bad penalties.  What did the coach do?  He felt obliged to live up to that hard-ass reputation of having to show accountability.  To the shock of many Torts benched Avery the next game.  This was a highly questionable move.  So what does Coach Discipline do in Washington, he shows even worse discipline (gross understatement, Avery was trying to help the team), and embarrasses the organization with his temper tantrum altercation with the fans.  Has Torts ever turned the page over this playoff incident?  I think not.

Avery has all the skills (highly underrated) and intangibles to help this team as their record has indicated when he is in the line-up.  He will be ready to go this year.  Avery can be a tremendous asset if the coach would just utilize him correctly. With all the kids coming next year (we all hope), I believe it is Torts who has more to prove this year than Avery. 

I’m firmly in the Avery camp on this issue; however, I do feel this relationship is dysfunctional.  Avery has for the most part behaved himself since his return, a bargain at that ($1.9 M), and plays with the most heart this on this team next to Sir Callahan.  Please feel free to share your opinion on the Torts and Avery marriage.  Will it ever work and who goes first?

The second problem leading to this discussion topic is the glut of left wings the Rangers now possess.  They seem to be set with Frolov, Prospal, Avery, and Boogaard.  This is the position where that 13th forward spot comes in.  The current depth pushing this position is Kennedy, Zuccarello-Aasen (he’s listed everywhere as a LW not RW, we’ll see soon), and Byers. Who fills that 13th forward spot best when Boogaard does not dress?

Is this enough to push Avery out?  Emerging left wingers?  The double-edged sword comes by the name of Mats Zuccarello-Aasen, otherwise known as The Hobbit.  He is the wild card.  This guy has mad skills and we’d all love to see him play the grand stage this year.  If he blows up camp in the 6 games in training camp, does this necessitate a trade to make room for him? Maybe, but who is going to take Avery in a trade at this point?  Hartford for Avery?  Not happening… now way! 

Avery may not be Derek Jeter, but the man does “have an edge.”  Avery wants to be a Ranger and that should be embraced by the organization and especially THE COACH.  Use him appropriately and the chants will be flowing down from the rafters.  He’s not going anywhere.

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