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Sean Avery hopes to be a thorn in the side of opponents instead of his own team next season

Sep 2, 2010, 11:15 PM EST

seanaveryagitates.jpgFew hockey players speak their mind and establish themselves as interesting people – but love him or hate him – Sean Avery is one of the NHL’s biggest personalities. That being said, Avery distinguishes himself from the Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco-types by falling short of star status when the games actually take place.

Sure, people are quick to point out that Avery brings a rare flourish of talent to the mostly one-note role of hockey pest, but a cursory glance at his career statistics will tell you that he doesn’t always justify the attention he receives. Still, he’s a pretty intriguing player for the New York Rangers (especially at the much-to-the-Dallas-Stars-chagrin buyout price of $1.97 million), so the team must be happy to hear that he’s hoping to improve upon a mediocre 31-point, 160 PIM season.

“I think everyone knows what my game entails,” Avery said. “I’m just excited to get back to the way that I know how to play and enjoy playing that way.”

Sticking with his philosophy of letting last season go, Avery wasn’t in the mood Thursday to talk about what was missing from his game last season.

“Lots,” is all he would say.

[snip]

The relationship between Avery and Tortorella appeared to turn dicey last season because the player couldn’t find a comfort zone playing the way the coach wanted him to. But since Avery seems ready to turn the page on last season, it’s not off base to think he’s hoping for a fresh start with Tortorella, too.

Anyone surprised by the fact that Avery and Totorella butted heads last season clearly isn’t very familiar with the careers of either person. Still, as much as Avery needs to always be mindful of the line between breaking and bending the rules, Torts might benefit from being careful to press the right buttons with Avery.

When you consider how offensively limited the Rangers roster is, they’re going to need to grind out a lot of wins. Having a focused Avery baiting other teams into bad penalties – rather than the self-destructive, off-the-wall version – would be a big help for a team that will need to scratch and claw if it hopes to make the playoffs next season.

And in a rare occurrence, Avery’s at least saying all the right things.

  1. NYRFTW - Sep 3, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Avery is the man and he’s a superstar in NY. Can’t get any better than that. The entire garden chants his name every home game! The only other player to gt his name chanted is the King. I am so psyched that he’s going back to the old Sean Avery and if Torts has a problem with it he can leave town. Torts isn’t relevant in NY. Tom Renney was way more popular than Torts could ever will be and much more successful. I could have coached TB to a cup in ’04. Torts can’t even coach the team to the playoffs, Renney had us in the second round at least. Tom Renney=class torts=classless! The guy gets into fights with reporters what kind of pro is that?

  2. NikolaiNYR - Sep 3, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    I’d love to see 07-08 Avery back in action. With two of the players who hate thim the most (Fatso Brodeur and Kovalchuk) playing the Rangers 6 times this year there should be some fireworks. I already have tix to a NYR-NJD game in February.
    Torts isn’t a bad coach, his system just doesn’t match the team make up. Not enough offensive weapons to play balls out.
    That said, Renney’s defensive system could get boring at times. The trap is why I hate the Devils and it killed me to see the Rangers get so defensive, though it did help grow Lundquist’s career.
    As far as reporters, I would be nasty to Larry Brooks as well if I had to deal with him. He’s made a career out of kissing up to Brodeur and hating on the Rangers. I can’t stand him.

  3. MP - Sep 3, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    does anyone really care about how sean avery is going to play, other than rangers fans? perhaps avery should stick to fashion design and wear one of his own designer dresses on the ice. it would be more apprpriate than a hockey sweater on him.

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