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Rangers waive Sean Avery; John Tortorella gives brutally honest explanation

Oct 4, 2011, 11:28 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

There was a time when Sean Avery was a nice little “steal” for the New York Rangers, even if that had a lot to do with the fact that he came with a 50 percent off tag via the Dallas Stars’ faulty contract. In late September, speculation really began to bubble up that the polarizing pest’s slide down the Rangers totem pole has become so pronounced that he won’t even be on the big club this season.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that those rumors turned out to be true: the team decided to waive Avery today. Brooks indicates that this should be far from a surprise, claiming that the Rangers basically made that decision before he boarded the team plane for their trip to Europe. He also speculates as to whether or not the team will risk absorbing his prorated cap hit by bringing him back up through re-entry waivers at some point this season.

It’s hard to foresee what exactly is in store for Avery, who lost a battle for a final spot with shiftier forward Erik Christensen. For years, hockey pundits have been quick to paste the ” … but nonetheless talented,” label on Avery while discussing his latest controversial comment or blunder. He’s never really harnessed those talents for enough good to offset the headaches he causes for his own team, though, and at 31 years old one cannot wonder if he’s running out of chances. (Avery’s contract will expire after this season.)

That’s not to say that this is the end of the line for Avery, however. Still, one cannot help but feel that Avery already reached his pest peak and that “Sloppy seconds” and the Martin Brodeur windshield wiper incident will dominate the first lines of his career’s obituary.

We’ll see what happens with Avery, whether he gets claimed by one of the league’s other 29 teams (through initial waivers or the re-entry process) or possibly works his way back up to the Rangers’ NHL roster. This certainly marks one of the lowest points of a very up and down career for Avery, though.

Update (5 p.m. ET): Tortorella is known as a straight-shooter, but even so, his comments about Avery’s demotion were surprisingly candid.

“I think we have better players than Sean Avery — plain and simple,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said Tuesday. “I can dodge it 10 different ways without trying to run Sean over. I thought he had a good camp.

“But I think with the makeup of our team, and some of the people we’ve added, and some of the youth we’ve added as far as depth put Sean in this spot.”

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:32 AM


  2. comeonnowguys - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Don’t let the door hit ya where so many tougher men split ya.

  3. icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Man. I was hoping Simmers could get back at him one more time ha. Well for all you Avery apologist (I’m sure there are a couple),are yous still willing to defend this dude?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Looks like the “he’s an effective player, you just hate him because he’s not on your team” defense of him just became worthless

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        No doubt. I can’t imagine that many of his teammates enjoyed playing with him. Maybe he changes his ways. I wouldn’t hold my breath NYR fans.

      • stakex - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        Not at all. The fact is, and most Rangers fans know this, Avery was very effective until Torts took over (look at his, and the Rangers numbers at that time). Torts however, does not like Avery and his play has suffered ever since. Avery is a player you have to let do his thing, and deal with the idiotic things he does once in a while… and Torts wasn’t up for that, and tried to control Avery too much.

        But hey, if you get yourself off acting like Avery wasn’t an effective player for the Rangers, then fine… go nuts. Rangers fans know better though.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 4, 2011 at 8:58 PM

        I was waiting for you, the most fervent of Avery defenders that I’ve seen on this board, to show up and re-hash that ridiculous argument. If he’s so effective he’ll be picked up by another team. However logical hockey fans know there’s 29 coaches other than Torts that have no time for this clown

  4. abrienza428 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    I’d like for him to be on the team, the only reason being he’d be entertaining on 24/7.

    • jpelle82 - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      yeah i guess if you think purses and lady gaga are entertaining

  5. canucks18 - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:29 PM


  6. bruinsfan1965 - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Send him to the Charlestown Chiefs to play with the Hanson Bros.

  7. hanktheking - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    In all seriousness, this is a bit of a sad day for true Avery fans, like myself. When he wanted to play hockey and focus on the ice, he was a good player who was at the worst a solid 4th liner, but overall this move was coming for a long time now and I don’t think anyone is surprised. Thanks for all the memories Sean, good, bad and ugly.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      It’s a sad day for real hockey fans when you find out there’s such a thing as a “true Avery fan”

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      In all seriousness, what makes you an Avery fan?

      • stakex - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:56 PM

        Perhaps he was an Avery fan becasue Avery reall did have talent, and was fun to watch? I know all you people hate Avery for some odd reason (probably because he was doing his job very well when he played your team), but if you watched him every game you would know he could be a really solid player.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:01 PM

        Avery was one of the most classless players to ever play the game. Real hockey fans didn’t hate him because he was “effective”, we hated him because he was a disgrace

  8. donttouchthedirtypenny - Oct 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM


  9. trbowman - Oct 4, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    “He’s never really harnessed those talents for enough good to offset the headaches he causes for his own team, though, and at 31 years old one cannot wonder if he’s running out of chances. ”

    Hope so.

  10. tbrisley - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Yeah, I wouldn’t like Avery very much if he wasn’t on my team. In fact, I’d probably hate him. Being a Ranger’s fan I was particularly fond of the way he got HOF-er “Fatso” Brodeur off his game – even turned him into a glaring bad sport with “the snub” – totally bush.

    Besides, anyone of you big mouths out there should jump on the ice with him someday. Until then, remember, nobody is blogging about you in your loser job, are they?

    • emoser - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:54 PM

      I notice that you say ‘Nobody is blogging about “you” in “your” loser job’ instead of “us” in “our” loser jobs… tell us, tbrisley, what non-loser job do you have that you’ve decided to exclude yourself from the group?

    • donttouchthedirtypenny - Oct 5, 2011 at 6:20 AM

      Typical a**hole Rangers fan. Typical a**hole New Yorker probably?

  11. nhlbruins90 - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    People need to understand the value of a player like Avery. Remember what Brad Marchand meant to the Bruins last year?

    Yes, opposing fans will hate these guys. They’ll bring out the inner sixth grader in us all. OK, we get it guys … Avery enjoys fashion and Hollywood (so does Tom Brady, so what’t the point?). Marchand will never make the cover of GQ. Laugh it up, because on his worst night this summer, his rejects wouldn’t spit on you.

    There will be ‘over the line’ moments that will make you crazy, or at least make the coach crazy. Effective coaches know how to deal with that stuff. And for every hilarious moment (Brad Marchand, center stage with a mike and 10 live TV cameras, rapping to all of New England), there will be a sloppy seconds moment. These guys are not shrinking violets, never will be.

    But you need them to win big. So, don’t be surprised if some team figures they harness some of that energy and curtail its excesses this season. He’ll be back, bet on it.

  12. donttouchthedirtypenny - Oct 7, 2011 at 6:15 AM

    Avery can’t hold Marchand’s jock. No comparison. Maybe if Avery produced like Marchand, there wouldn’t be so many haters. Also if Marchand dove and whined like Avery, maybe there’d be Marchand haters. Bottom line, Avery is a marginally talented player who is an embarrassment to his team and the league. People are tired of his act and happy to see him go.

  13. percybowl - Oct 8, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    “When he wanted to play hockey and focus on the ice, he was a good player who was at the worst a solid 4th liner”

    Who cares about 4th line players? That makes him first to go.

  14. bucsraysboltsfan - Oct 10, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    We love Guy Boucher in Tampa, but we sure do miss you Torts.

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