More praise was being thrown in the direction of Sean Avery today and not without reason:
Should the Rangers make the playoffs — and several games going on right now are helping them in that cause — many fingers will point to the Feb. 5 acquisition of Avery as a major reason why.
Yes, that’s all premature at this point, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But what I will point to as one of the more telling details of Avery’s impact is his unusual rapport with Jaromir Jagr.
We’ve discussed at times on this blog the cultural divide that may have existed within the Rangers dressing room this season, not to mention the inordinate influence that Jagr has over everyone else.
But I’ve also referred to Jagr’s often playful demeanor, both with people like me and his teammates. Many of you watching on TV or even in person might not always see that, and to be sure, Jagr’s on-ice body language makes him seem more aloof than he really is. But to hear the banter between Jagr and Avery today and on many occasions this season — most notably when Jagr referred to Avery as “Mario” after a particularly sharp game — is confirmation that the team’s captain has fully embraced Avery as a teammate.
And as Aaron Ward might attest, that’s kind of important.
Anyway, there’s a pretty good audio clip from today that captures Jagr ribbing Avery at the start of an interview today. I’ll try to throw it up here at some point, so stay tuned.
Also, I’ll have more on Avery in tomorrow’s paper and online…