Before yesterday’s game, Eugene Markman, who writes the Flyers blog, and I were talking about Sean Avery. Then lo and behold he gets his first healthy scratch of his Ranger career in a key game against Atlanta. (Lisin took his place.) I find this a shocking development.
Avery has skill. And passion. Two things the Rangers sorely need more of. But to be good, Avery needs to play with an edge. Think Esa Tikkanen.
Sadly, there’s no doubt that Avery has been neutered. The season opened with the league showing its bias and cracking down on his every move. If he spit on the ice he’d get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. But he adjusted. The league did not. So his play suffered (cause when he does not play with an edge he is not good) and he still was getting called for too many minors. So what happens? Torts cuts his minutes. Avery’s production goes down even further, to the point that Torts finally scratches him.
Avery should play more, not less. At the very least, Shelley should watch from the GM’s box and Avery should be on the third line, with Prust back on the 4th. (It was a nice thought to give Prust 3rd line time, but come on Torts. Get realistic.) What is the deal Torts ? You got Avery. Let him be himself. Unleash the beast.