Tag:Sean Avery
Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Rangers recall Avery after he clears waivers

By Brian Stubits

The loud and boisterous New York Rangers fans got their wish on Tuesday. Sean Avery cleared re-entry waivers and was immediately recalled by New York.

Now the fun begins.

Avery was reassigned to the AHL just before the Rangers opened the season in Sweden. At the time, coach John Tortorella didn't want to "jam" Avery up, saying he believed there were better players on the roster. It was a hockey decision, not a personal one.

For his part, Avery said he didn't believe he ever had a fair chance to make the roster and that he didn't expect to return to the NHL this season.

Most say Avery was recalled to give the Rangers some energy and a spark. Until Monday night's 5-2 thumping of the Sharks, they had been rather flat. Avery's game is anything but flat. Ironically, though, the game de-emphasized the need for Avery after the process to recall him had already begun. Still, the Sharks' Joe Thornton thinks the Rangers could use a little more grit still.

But Tortorella, who has a frosty relationship with Avery, said the move was done in lieu of Mike Rupp's knee injury. Again, it's a hockey move.

"This is the right decision," Tortorella said Monday. "It's the right hockey decision now and it was the right hockey decision when we sent Sean down. That's where it's at."

At least he's sticking to his guns.

We'll still have to wait and see if Tortorella will play Avery. The decision to recall him might have come from GM Glen Sather, but Tortorella still puts the players on the ice. Our first chance to see how the Torts-Avery reunion is going will be on Thursday when the Rangers host the Anaheim Ducks.

"I'm not force-feeding anything," Tortorella said after Monday's game. "If I look at the tape and think guys have done their job, you stay with your team. I just don't know what the lineup's going to be our next game. We'll see how it all works out." 

As I said, this is going to be fun.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 31, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 9:46 am
 

Sharks' Thornton calls Rangers soft after loss

By Brian Stubits

The Rangers might have turned in their most impressive effort of the season on Halloween night, snapping the San Jose Sharks' five-game win streak. They actually had the power play clicking and outshot the Sharks 31-26.

But the win wasn't enough to impress Joe Thornton of the Sharks. After the game, he shared his thoughts on the Blueshirts. His brutally honest thoughts.

.

The road trip they just wrapped up included stops in New Jersey, Boston, Nashville, Detroit and Long Island in addition to Manhattan.

Then later there was Rangers coach John Tortorella's response, from Katie Strang at ESPN New York.

When told about Thornton's jab, Tortorella responded:

"Wonderful."

Simple enough retort from Torts.

Unfortunately, the Sharks and Rangers won't meet again this season -- unless it's in the Stanley Cup Final of course. That could make for a really fun rematch with Thornton's words being posted in the Rangers locker room.

Ironically, the game on Monday featured a fight between Brandon Prust and Ryane Clowe just seven seconds into the game.

But this might be -- even if John Tortorella won't say as much -- be a reason why the Rangers are recalling Sean Avery from the AHL. If nothing else, he'll bring a spark and an edge to the Rangers. But something tells me it wasn't said to be constructive criticism from Thornton.

Whatever the intent was, I'll bet the message was received from the Rangers and their fans. Now if only the Sharks could return to MSG this season, we could have another "Can you hear us?" moment.

Video courtesy of The Score

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 30, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 5:05 pm
 

Reports: Sean Avery to go on re-entry waivers

By Brian Stubits

Sean Avery will be returning to an NHL rink near you, so it seems.

Of all the news breakers that cover the NHL and New York Rangers, it was the NFL on CBS' own Boomer Esiason who broke the news that Avery will be put through the process of returning to the NHL at lot faster than anybody, including Avery, could have assumed.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post and Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet later confirmed the news that Avery was going to be put on re-entry waivers likely on Monday. Considering he cleared waivers without issue when he was sent to the AHL, it shouldn't be an issue for him to clear them on re-entry. If he does, he would be eligible to play for the Rangers on Thursday against the Ducks in Madison Square Garden.

Avery was assigned to the Connecticut Whale just before the Rangers' season opener in Sweden. Coach John Tortorella, who has always seemed to have a frosty relationship with the New York fan favorite, said he didn't want to "jam" Avery up, believing that they had better players they were keeping.

Among that list of players is Kris Newbury, who is filling Avery's skates on the checking line. He hasn't exactly endeared himself to the fans in New York with his play. Of course, I am starting to doubt anybody can endear themselves to Rangers fans quite like Avery.

After the Rangers announced he would not be on the roster to start the season, he began exploring all of his options. Eventually, Avery said he chose to stay close to New York and play in the AHL rather than go for more money in Europe. He also said he didn't believe he ever had a fair shot to make the roster from the beginning and that he doubted he'd be back with the Rangers this season.

When the team finally played at the new Madison Square Garden last Thursday, the crowd erupted into a "We want Avery!" chant. There was a banner hanging from the rafters asking for Avery to come back and to send Torts (Tortorella) to the Whale.

Well apparently the fans have been heard. Avery could be back in a blue shirt by the end of the week.

Maybe the best news? HBO's 24/7 can once again follow Avery for their series coming up.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 11:04 am
 

Weekend Preview: Rangers get MSG debut do-over

By Brian Stubits

The refurbished Madison Square Garden finally hosted a Rangers game on Thursday night, and it wasn't enough like old times for the fans. And I'm not talking about the $9.50 domestic beers.

No, the fans in attendance were longing for the old MSG, where Sean Avery delighted them on the ice. OK, maybe they were just longing for Avery.

There was also a banner hanging from the upper level earlier in the game in support of Avery. Mysteriously, it was gone later in the game. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the fan didn't have a change of heart midway through the game and took it down him/herself.

The case of Avery is an odd one. He is a player that all the teams in the NHL apparently don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole, including the Rangers, who sent him to the AHL's Connecticut Whale. If you ask 100 people to describe Avery the player in one word, the most flattering response you would receive is "agitator."

He's like a member of the Rangers family. Johnny Ranger fan can insult him all day long, just like I can call my brother a jerk (hypothetically, of course). But don't you even dare to call my brother a jerk. It's in the same vain. Avery might just be an ineffective player whose only role it seems is to piss opponents off, but he's THEIR ineffective player whose only role it seems is to piss opponents off. He's a fan favorite. His antics have gone over well in New York, clearly.

But honestly, this wouldn't be that big of a deal if the Rangers were playing better, specifically Avery's replacement, Kris Newbury. Sure, they are 3-3-2, but it has been less-than inspiring. This is a team that had a lot of hype after an offseason that saw them catch the biggest fish swimming in the free-agent lake. The combination of Brad Richards with Marian Gaborik would be gold, I tell you, gold. The Blueshirts would finally be able to give Henrik Lundqvist the kind of scoring support to show he is a Vezina-quality goaltender.

Well, it hasn't happened yet -- the scoring, not Lundqvist showing he is Vezina-quality. The Rangers offense has scored 16 goals in eight games. Even the mathematically challenged should easily recognize that as two goals per game, not very impressive.

“I’ve known [Gaborik] for a month now,” Richards said. “It would be great if we’d come in here and click perfectly. Realistically, we have some work to do, and we’ve got to get to know each other on the ice. We’re both used to having the puck. That’s a work in progress, for sure.”

“It’s no secret that we have to put more pucks in the net,” Ryan Callahan said after Thursday's game.

This has coach John Tortorella tweaking the lines, trying to find the right combinations. The pairing of Gaborik and Richards just hasn't produced yet the way they hoped. Gaborik was practicing on Friday with Wotjek Wolski and Erik Christensen on one line while Richards was with Brandon Dubinsky and Callahan on another.

It's under that backdrop that the Rangers welcome the Ottawa Senators to new-look MSG on Saturday. You know the Senators, the team most everybody saw as being the worst in the Eastern Conference this year but has surprised the masses by winning four games in a row? The plus side is that the Senators could be the team to jumpstart the typically sluggish Rangers offense. Ottawa has surrendered a league-high 39 goals in 10 games.

Let's look at that game as a second chance to make a first impression at home.

Scorer's delight

Speaking of that Rangers season debut at MSG, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs who spoiled the party with a 4-2 win in New York. With the victory they remained one of the surprising starters of the season, improving to 6-2-1.

But I pose this question: What's more surprising, Toronto starting so well thanks to Phil Kessel's nine goals, or Penguins forward James Neal being tied with Kessel for the league lead in goals scored? We'll have a chance to see them at the same time on Saturday when the Penguins visit the Leafs.

Normally, hearing that a Pittsburgh Penguins player leads the league in scoring doesn't come as a surprise. Rather, it is expected. But that's expected from guys named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, not James Neal.

Which brings me to that trade from last February when the Penguins acquired Neal. Talk about one of those trades where both sides win. Well, let me rephrase; a trade where it looks like both sides came out well. I caution against calling winner and losers in a trade so soon. But Neal has obviously been producing for Pittsburgh as he seems capable of not only reaching his career-high 27 goals he had in 2009-10, but surpassing it. On the other end, Matt Niskanen and Alex Goligoski, while having very cool surnames, have both been good fits in Pittsburgh and Dallas.

As for the Leafs' sharpshooter Kessel? Well this is what they hoped for when Brian Burke made that trade a couple of years ago. Just for fun, I'd like to point out that Kessel is on pace for an 81-goal, 144-point season and a plus-45 at this time.

Big Z, Max meet ... again

Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins will be in Montreal on Saturday to pay a visit to the Canadiens. Obviously it's an anticipated reunion for some folks who are into that sort of thing.

Chara has already been back to Habs Town since his hit on Max Pacioretty late last season, the Bruins had to go through the Habs on their way to the Stanley Cup. But it will mark the first time Chara has faced Pacioretty in Montreal. OK, OK, we're stretching a bit. The Canadiens just beat the B's Thursday in Boston, so let's just say this one is about the game, shall we?

These are two struggling teams. Montreal got off to such a bad start, it was their worst in 70 years! It led to the firing of assistant coach Perry Pearn and since then, the Habs have reeled off two in a row, including one over the Bruins. Not that that had much if anything to do with Pearn's dismissal, but at least the Habs are showing signs of getting out of the early season doldrums.

For Boston, they have struggled too, although much more quietly. Interesting considering they are the defending champs and all. In a way this might have been expected. You hear all the time about the dreaded hangover, and that might be in play here. Either way, the Bruins are struggling to score.

The game is just like any other in an 82-game season, but this will quietly be an important one. These teams both want to get on track and in the Boston's case, a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the hated Habs wouldn't help in that regard. But for Montreal, it could help forgive much of the early struggles.

Best games, on paper

Entering the season, these two games appeared to be monster October showdowns: The Sharks visiting the Red Wings on Friday then the Capitals taking on the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday. If you had to pick five preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup, there's a good chance three or maybe all four of these teams would make that list.

The Sharks have been somewhat slow to start themselves, but seem to have flipped the switch and won three games in a row, all on the road. The Red Wings, on the other hand, began like gangbusters, but have since lost two games to the Caps and previously winless Blue Jackets. However these two are still titans and will be in the Western hunt all year and just might have another playoff battle lined up. (You might remember they played a great seven-game series last season.)

As for Capitals-Canucks? Well one team has played like a Cup contender and the other, well, the Cup contention seems like a long time ago now. Washington finally took its first loss in Edmonton on Thursday night after getting off to a franchise-record 7-0-0 start. Tomas Vokoun has been spectacular. If there has been anything to complain about up to this point, it's nitpicking.

Vancouver meanwhile has a hot mess of a goaltending situation at the moment. Starter Roberto Luongo is more than a hot topic in the city, a lot of the fans want him gone and would like to see Cory Schneider play. A victory over the Capitals, while not incredibly symbolic at this time of the season, would perhaps satisfy the fan base with the notion that things will be OK. Serenity now!

Somebody get him a compass

Ilya Bryzgalov, who is admittedly "lost in the woods" right now and appears to be a broken goalie, is slated to start Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. He better find his way out of the woods in a hurry.

Since his first two starts of the season when he was stellar, Bryzgalov has been a mess, never worse than Thursday's five-goals-on-10-shots showing in "reprieve" of Sergei Bobrovsky. His best showing since those first two was when he gave up three goals to the Kings in an overtime loss. His numbers right now? Ugggly. Try an .870 save percentage and 3.45 GAA. Ouch.

So Peter Laviolette might have decided that what better way to get a goalie's broken confidence going once again than start him the next time out?

Either that or Lavy didn't want to put Bobrovsky back out there either.

Pregame trash talk

One of the great things about Twitter is the ability for players to interact with fans and other players for thousands to see. Ever wonder what players talk about before the puck is dropped in the faceoff circle? Twitter has helped give fans an idea.

But Anthony Stewart of the Carolina Hurricanes and Daniel Carcillo talking a little pregame smack on Twitter before Friday night's tilt? Yes please!

Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) got it started with this: Goin 2 Carolina to throw a beat down on the Hurricanes and on@EhStew13 Just like in bantam when I'd drop u in buckets b4 pracy #indafaaace

Here was the response from Stewart (@EhStew13): You remembered u got Tko'd, keep the Bus in the Windy City, these 2 points aren't for sale #meh.

The short back-and-forth concluded with Carcillo: @EhStew13 we aren't lookin to buy #5fingerdiscount and I recall me havin to double shift in practice bc some1 had post concussion syndromes.

Good stuff. Guys having some playful smack (I'm assuming its playful) for all to see is good fun.

As to the game itself between the 'Hawks and 'Canes in Carolina? Well Chicago is looking for its first win in Raleigh since 1998. Granted there is unbalanced scheduling, but still, that's a long time. Also, Eric Staal needs to improve and that league-worst minus-9 he's sporting at the moment. Ouch.

Back to Vancouver ...

There will be no Green Men sitting by the opponent's box to torment Alex Ovechkin and crew. Vancouver's most famous fans will instead be ... in Bakersfield, Calif.?

Well look at that, the Green Men have turned their antics into appearances at hockey arenas. The Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL (originally from the WCHL) will have the spandex-wearing fans at their game on Friday night. Then Saturday will be Star Wars night.

I don't know about you all, but I'd rather see Star Wars night. Either way, these promotions are two big reasons why minor-league hockey is so awesome.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 5:59 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 5:59 pm
 

Sean Avery chose AHL assignment over Euro offers

By Brian Stubits

Sean Avery could have gone to Europe to play hockey and made millions more. Instead he turned it down to play for the Rangers' AHL affiliate in Connecticut.

"There was a lot of money on the table to go to Russia, but I don't necessarily feel that was something that I wanted to do," Avery told the Connecticut Whale writer Bruce Berlet. "There wasn't enough money to go somewhere like Switzerland. I'm 100 miles from home, and that certainly factors into it, for sure."

Clearly Avery loves New York too much to want to leave. And why wouldn't he? As Kevin DeLury at the New York Rangers Blog points out, Avery has interests in Manhattan, namely two of his own restaurants and the abundance of fashion.

I share this because it seems this is the message fans are always screaming for players to understand. Here we have a guy who took less money to stay somewhere he is happy, making a decision that goes beyond the bank. Of course, it's the dispised Avery and he's choosing between less attractive options than usual, i.e. NHL clubs, it's unlikely to garner any positive sentiments.

Of course, another reason he could be sticking around is the possibility he could be recalled to join the Rangers. It's still an option, however unlikely it might be.

When asked if he thought he might return to the Rangers this season, his answer was "Probably not, I doubt it."

It has been no secret that he and coach John Tortorella haven't seen eye to eye on a lot. Here's some more of what he told Katie Strang at ESPN New York.

Avery, who has been rehabbing an injured right shoulder since reporting to the Connecticut Whale earlier this month, indicated he didn't believe he was given a fair shot to make the Rangers out of training camp.

"I'd say it's pretty obvious," Avery said. "I'll let everyone else decide for themselves.

"[Tortorella] told me it was his decision and that was pretty much it," Avery said.

Avery continued to say that he thinks he can still play in the NHL. The only problem is I can't foresee any team giving him the chance to prove it at this point.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 12, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Eric Nystrom and the salary cap floor

EN1By: Adam Gretz

On the surface, the Dallas Stars acquisition of Eric Nystrom from the Minnesota Wild for future considerations isn't the most exciting trade you will see come across the league transaction page.

Actually, it's probably somewhere near the bottom. What makes it so bizarre -- and interesting -- is that Dallas could have simply claimed him re-entry waivers earlier in the week and absorbed only half of his $1.4 million annual salary which runs through the end of next season. Why, then, did they trade for him? Because they needed to take on his full salary in order to stay above the salary cap floor.

Here are some of the details, via  Wild beat writer Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:
The Stars' woes began the other day when Sean Avery was officially reassigned to the Connecticut Whale.

After the Rangers sent Avery to the minors, the $1.9 million portion the Stars were picking up came off their cap. That put them dangerously close to going below the floor. With Adam Pardy coming off long term injury relief, the Stars needed to send Tomas Vincour and his 800K to the minors. So the Stars had to make a roster move to add close to $1.2 million to stay above the $48.3 million floor.

So they couldn't take Nystrom at half of his $1.4 million. They needed the whole portion.

The reason Sean Avery, who hasn't played for Dallas since early in the 2008-09 season, is involved in this is because when the Stars parted ways with him back in 2008, the New York Rangers claimed him on re-entry waivers. That means the Stars are still responsible for paying half of his salary. As long as he remained on the Rangers' NHL roster the $1.9 million the Stars were payiing would count toward their salary cap situation, which is one of the lowest in the league.

Since Avery is no longer on the Rangers NHL roster, the Stars lose that cap hit (even though they're still paying him) and were in danger of falling below the cap floor. Had they simply claimed Nystrom on re-entry waivers, which would have been far more valuable in a financial sense, they would have only been responsible for $700,000 per year through the end of next season, and only had Nystrom take up $700,000 in cap space, with the Wild picking up the other half.

Instead, they had to give up "future considerations" (which will probably turn out to be nothing of any consequence) and take on over $2 million ($1.4 million per season) in salary (and salary cap space) through the end of next season, while the Wild are no longer responsible for anything.

Nystrom can provide solid depth as a bottom-six forward, but this appears to be a case where the contract is more valuable to the team than the player.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.


Posted on: October 7, 2011 4:08 pm
 

'Maxim' magazine offers Sean Avery an editing job

By Brian Stubits

Nobody wanted to give Sean Avery a job after the Rangers waived him, that's why he cleared and was reassigned to the AHL's Connecticut Whale. Well, nobody in the NHL wanted to give him a job, that is.

Avery has a job offer on the table from none other than Maxim magazine. When you look at it, he does sort of fit the mold they are looking for. Check it out.

Since 29 other NHL teams found no use for Avery’s brutish skill-set, maybe it's time he tried his hand at being a Maxim editor. It's not like he hasn't got the experience -- in the Summer of 2008, Avery interned in the fashion department at Vogue magazine and by June 2008 was serving as guest-editor of mensvogue.com. None of which has any bearing on working here, of course, but he owns a bar (Warren 77), uses foul language and likes to fight to make his point, so it's not like he wouldn't fit in (so long as he fights according to the Maxim Rules: Fish hooking and hair pulling allowed, no frontal wedgies and first one to cry loses).
Avery is expected to start the season with The Connecticut Whale (of the American Hockey League), which is where you go after you’re placed on waivers and go unclaimed. We're happy to offer him a position here, which is where you go after you wake up in Central Park with no memory of the previous week, a stolen ID and two pigeons eating melted cheese out of your hair. Sean -- call us?

The next questions is can Maxim pay a competitive salary?

Although I'd be more interested if they offered him a position as a correspondant. Imagine Avery doing an interview with a woman who has been in Maxim a few times before like, say, oh I don't know, Elish Cuthbert? Surely that would be a good interview.

I like the potential here, Maxim.

But I'm betting Maxim is just looking for some help on the company hockey team.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:03 am
 

Daily Skate: EA simulation picks Pens to win Cup

By Brian Stubits

Today is a very special edition of the Daily Skate. We don't have to tell you why, but we will anyway: the season begins tonight! There are three games on tap, including the champion Bruins opening vs. the Flyers Canadiens-Maple Leafs and Penguins-Canucks. Scoreboard

SIMULATION SEASON: Two seasons ago, EA Sports' simulation using their hockey video game picked the Blackhawks to win the Cup and they did. Last season it predicted the Canucks would win the Presidents' Trophy and the Finals would be Vancouver vs. Boston. It was. This season? The Penguins are their champ. Feeling good Pittsburgh? (EA.com)

OPTIMISTIC START: The negotiations are still a few months away, but if you're like me, you're really starting to fear losing another season to labor strife. But new NHLPA boss Donald Fehr isn't. He's optimistic as the season gets under way that they can get a deal done. There will be plenty of time to negotiate, likely beginning around the All-Star break. (Winnipeg Free Press)

THE HEAT WILL BE ON: The over/under (more on that later today) for the number of coaches to be fired mid-season is 1.5 from bodog. The first could be Ron Wilson of the Maple Leafs. He begins the season squarely on the hot seat as expectations are as high as they have been in a while in Toronto. (Toronto Star)

HE COULD BE BACK: That was supposed to be in a Schwarzenegger voice. Anyway, "he" is Sean Avery, the recently waived Rangers forward who many assumed played his last game not only for the Blueshirts, but in the NHL as no team claimed him. Not so fast. GM Glen Sather says if Avery has earned it, no doubt he could be recalled from the AHL, where he was relocated on Wednesday. (New York Post)

PEACE AND QUIET: It's assumed that most players would prefer to play for a rabid fan base in a hockey-crazy city. Considering that qualifies for each of the seven Canadian markets and a majority of players are Canadian, it seems to be a perfect fit. But former Senators star Mike Fisher is enjoying life outside the spotlight with the Predators in Nashville. (Senators Extra)

SKINNER FEVER PART II: Jeff Skinner was a breakout star for the Hurricanes last season, winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. He was also a local star, especially among the swooning young girls of Raleigh. He talks about the craziness he went through last year, expectations for the coming season and much more. (Puck Daddy)

UNDERDOGS, EH?: First-year Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulatzan doesn't mind one bit that his team is considered an underdog. With players like Jamie Benn, Mike Ribiero, Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson, I can see why he wouldn't mind being below the radar. Oh, and his Canadian accent is pretty thick (just sayin').

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com