From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS: It's Time Coach Torts Treated Sean Avery Like an NHL Player Again. But Sean Needs to Meet Coach Half Way.
The Fans have spoken. The AVERY ARMY has won.
Yeah..., but don't go celebrating just yet. Coach Torts isn't exactly at the ready with a pen in hand rushing to sign a peace treaty with the Rangers' confounding forward. With the waiver process speaking volumes about the demand for Avery around the League, we Fans still like him immensely and want him on the ice. So, somehow we want these two guys to figure out a way to coexist.
Most of that onus I charge to Coach Torts. I'm an unabashed supporter of Tortorella, his plan for the Rangers, and the influence I believe he sways over Glen Sather. But his handling of Sean Avery since Day One, has been deplorable (..in Fan speak that is).
If you're thinking like a coach, all that one should be concerned with are his penalties because they're usually of the knuckle-head variety. But that by itself isn't enough to continually keep Avery under the heat lamp. In that respect he's no different from most players. It's just how Avery seemingly always takes things just a bit too far that gets him in trouble. But apparently it's still not more trouble than his comments made on TV as a member of the Dallas Stars. That incident continues to be Coach Torts' line of demarcation as far as respecting Sean Avery.
Avery's reputation precedes him. We all get that. We were reminded of that with every limited shift Coach ever gave Avery in the past. The zebra-stripes haunted Avery with League-wide quick whistles against him. While that might be a fair point of Coach's concern, it's still no reason why Coach Torts insists on making Avery's time in a Blueshirt feel like a tenuous situation at best. It's actually been Coach Torts who hasn't permitted Sean Avery to out-live that incident on TV. That night above all else is what Coach Torts (Mr. Lash-out himself) holds against Avery most.
Sean Avery won't be playing against the Ducks Thursday night. That's cool. We get it. Avery gets it too. But moving forward, is Avery going to be relegated to four minutes a night on the fourth and a half line again? Because if he is, why bother? Why bother? This guy can legitimately help the team with a consistent flow of minutes which, yes, he absolutely needs to earn first. And why is he being recalled in the first place? Because Mike Rupp's knee is shot. Wasn't that the same problem we ran into with Vinny Prospal? Hmm? No doubt, the answer is yes. Just as the answer to the question - Can Avery help the Rangers? - ...is also a resounding Yes.
This time around, Coach Torts has to relent a little. As you see, we've been in this exact situation before. Let's not make the same "intentional" mistake again by under-utilizing Sean Avery. If he's going to help this team, he'll help. If he's going to eventually play his way off this team for good, let him. I just don't want Coach Torts pushing him out the door for us because of some hang-up he has with the forward.
When the Rangers sent him down to the AHL initially, I never for a second agreed with Coach's assertion that we had better players than Avery deserving of the roster spot. Then when pressed to respond to Avery being put through re-entry waivers, Coach said sending him down at the time was a good move, and the decision to recall him is a good move.
Whatever Coach. Make the right move now and let Sean Avery not only earn, but actually realize more ice time for a change.
Welcome back Sean. Don't blow it OK?!