The move everyone expected the Rangers to make has been made today as the team claimed left wing Sean Avery on re-entry waivers from the Dallas Stars.
“We feel, especially in the division, we need a little more jam on our team,” coach John Tortorella said to reporters in Greenburgh. “Hopefully he can kick in a couple of goals. I haven’t coached Sean, I want to see what he’s all about. I’ve seen him play. When he’s concentrating on playing under a team concept, he’s an effective player. That’s what we’re looking for. He’s really tried to help himself and Glen [Sather] believes in second chances. I think he’s done his homework here and we’ll see where it goes.”
By claiming him on re-entry waivers, the Rangers will be responsible for half of the $3.875 million cap hit on his contract with the Dallas Stars paying the other half of his salary.
On paper, this was a no-brainer, since the Rangers wanted Avery back, but not at the rate he got from the Stars. Now, they will have him at their price.
But after making disparaging comments about some of his teammates, namely Stephen Valiquette – calling him a “minor leaguer” on the MSG Network – how he will fit in without Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, and coach Tom Renney is the question everyone wants answered.
“I think it’ll be great,” Ranger captain Chris Drury said to reporters. “The only two things I need to know and I think the other guys in this room need to know are: One, that he wants to be here, that he wants to be a Ranger, he loves wearing the jersey, he loves living in New York and second, he wants to win a Stanley cup. What more could you ask for of a teammate?”
Well, the Rangers will want the old Avery, who tormented opposing goalies, especially Marty Brodeur, and knocked the other team off their game. If he can hone in those skills, while keeping the off ice antics in check then this could be a success.
Yet with Tortorella as coach, it’s not a definite, since he made comments about Avery after he was suspended back in November for making remarks about his former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert.
“Enough is enough,” Tortorella said as a broadcaster on TSN in Canada. “He’s embarrassed himself, he’s embarrassed the [Dallas] organization, he’s embarrassed the league and he’s embarrassed his teammates, who have to look out for him. Send him home. He doesn’t belong in the league.”
But Sather felt otherwise and wanted to make this move to give his forward a second chance.
“He doesn’t have the history with Sean that we do,” Sather said on a conference call last week. “Over time, you learn to love him, just like I do.”
Avery is scheduled to practice tomorrow, and may suit up against the Islanders on Thursday.