At least it’s not getting personal…oh wait, maybe it is…


Credit goes to Larry Brooks for uncovering “the particulars of a brief”: submitted by the Rangers for Sean Avery’s arbitration hearing today in Toronto.

In it, Glen Sather dismisses much of the left wing’s on-ice contributions last spring and even refers to him as a “detriment to the team.”

Naturally, you’d have to think much of this is mere posturing by the Rangers, but it still strikes me as an odd move given Avery’s unquestioned importance to the team — both last year and presumably, moving forward.

I’m one of those who thinks the stars may have aligned for Avery when he came to New York last year, meaning that he happened to be the right player who arrived at just the right time. But other than shooting his mouth off to us on occasion — i.e. promising to hurt the Sabres before the Buffalo series — I never got the sense that he was anything other than a guy that wanted to see the team win. In fact, Avery was often quick to dismiss the credit that came his way toward the end of last season.

Things are getting strange, folks. I admittely have been out of the loop somewhat this summer. But this is yet another move by the Rangers (see: departures of Don Maloney, Jed Ortmeyer, and Matt Cullen) that leaves me scratching my head…

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  1. sather is a moron if he thinks avery was a detriment to the team. he was incredibly important and for them to have to go to arbitration is a joke.

  2. I guess we should all just be glad that Slats and Hank sorted things out before it got to this point lol.

    (although I’m not really laughing – too much fear to laugh)

  3. Detriment is a pretty strong word to use in a negotiating ploy..

    In all seriousness though, Sather, you knew what you were getting when you brought him here in the first place. If you dont like it, then why did you do it to begin with.

    It’s just plain odd..

  4. Disappointing to see Sather messing around — players always seem to take the business fights worse than they do the real ones. Any way to get a reaction from Avery?

  5. Sather would be a moron to let him go. it sounds like they’ve been doing little negotiation and sather doesn’t particularly care for him. Breaking down his morale for the sake of a little bit of cap space is stupid in itself. His morale was infectious last season. Am I missing something? would offering him 2M a year be too much?

  6. Oops, sorry, hadn’t seen the LB article yet, which contains a lot of Avery. Yeah, that’s not so good. Avery should have been a guy who felt like things were coming together for him by being a key part in last year’s drive to the playoffs, not someone the Rangers can rip in negotiations. Bit too much of a low blow at a guy who, for the most part, seemed to make a serious effort to be a better man as a Ranger than he had earlier in his career.

  7. The best comeuppance for Avery will be if he wins in arbitration, and then goes out and has himself a hell of a season.

  8. For Hossa’s arbitration Sather’s comments will be “who? never heard of him.”

    Honestly 95% of the time nothing good comes out of any arbitration. Usually the player leaves via free agency the next year because he hates the GM after the arbitration.

    Avery will win the arbitration and get about 2.4

  9. My understanding is that the timing is at the mercy of the arbitrator, meaning the hearing itself doesn’t take long but that the decision could take longer.

  10. I love Sean Avery, but before he came to the Rangers I don’t think anyone would be lining up to pay him $1 million never mind $2.5 million. He had 25-30 great games for the Rangers and for that should be re-signed at $1.5-$2 million. Not to mention, he’s worth way more to the Rangers than he would be to anyone else – in fact I would think most GM’s, given his reputation, would be reluctant to sign him. He should get $2 million here, then if he goes out and has a great year, sign him up for longer. I don’t blame slats for being wary.

    Then again, I don’t think his comments were necessary…

  11. Colorado Mark on

    It used to be one side won, one side lost, there was no in between. The way it is now, Avery has nothing to lose by asking the high end and the rangers have to ask low so that middle ground will be how the contract ends up.
    Here’s how the arbitration works:
    The Rangers have Hossa on August 2. That means that after a decision is made on that case, the Rangers can then decide on both. So I don’t expect to hear from the Rangers until after a decision is made on Hossa. If Hossa gets a big contract, they might have to let him walk based on what Avery will get. I figure we will know by August 3.

  12. Welcome to MSG Sam where “strange” is the only way to describe a world run by Jim Dolan. One only needs to read SI’s article on Dolan a few months back to know how “strange” the place can be. At least Jim isn’t forcing Avery to go watch his band to keep his job with the Rangers. Some days is very hard to love a team thats run by so many self rightous morons.

  13. Sather was crazy to say Avery is a detriment. he spends money like a drunken sailor (and seemingly would have for someone like Souray as well) and this is the residual effect. I can see this causing Avery to change his attitude for the worse. With people making $ 7 mm plus and the cap at over $ 50 mm other players expect their piece of the pie unless they’re real young and just happy to make the team. So not happy with Sather lately 1st Cullen and now saying this to Avery.

  14. Game theory suggests that as long as a plausible argument can be made for assigning a specific value to a player, then there is absolutly nothing wrong with both parties coming up with very narrow views of a players contribution and what that player should be paid. There isn’t a figure set in stone that someone must pay for a 27 year old, agitating, forward #5,6 who kills penalties. There is a range of numbers that would fit, and i bet that the min would be Sather’s bid, and the max would be Avery’s. Draw a line down the middle of the bids, and the reward will be within (wild estimate, because I lack information of standard devation of bids) ten percent of the mean. If anyone wants to have fun, look up the numbers for Gomez’s bid from a year ago. Lucky Lou said something like 3.5 million (vague guess) while Scotty to Hottie woke up and thought he was Patrik Elias, and bid 7.8 million. He ended up with 5.

  15. On the flip side, this could serve well to motivate Avery next season, even though the word “detrimental” is a bit harsh, but this is hockey, so he can take it.

  16. True Fans bleed RW&B on

    Keep Avery, release Slats…Avery saved Sather alot of grief and criticism by being the catalyst for last year’s semi-finals run. Even Sather owes Avery credit for preventing the near busto’ of an entire year.

  17. I wouldn’t get too carried away with Brook’s report in the Post. LB tends to be very harsh on management and pro-union in his reporting. It’s possible / likely that the word “detriment” was taken out of context. For example, Sather might have noted that Avery’s play at times was a detriment (see Game One of the Eastern Conf Semi’s). That said, I hope Sather didn’t suggest that his overall play was a detriment.

  18. hockeymanrangers on

    My thoughts are, is it possible that Sather’s quote was taken out of contents??? Sather would be so foolish to mess up a deal with Avery. How many times did everyone say last season that he was such a perfect fit for the Rangers. In my book it is such a asset to have the elected MOST HATED PLAYER on your team. A pole taken by the Hockey News magizine by fellow players. Sather get it together and get him signed NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON.

  19. yea i agree with the above post saying it could be out of context. it may have referred to his actions before the sabres series and his disappearance once the series started. not saying i completely agree with sather but if that is the case then i agree that was a detriment to the rangers. also while avery definitely was a spark last season when he arrived, Henrik was the reason we made the playoffs. hopefully avery ignores this and plays hard all year and then if he wants to walk next year thats his right, if he behaves he can definitely play a role on this team, but he is not the missing piece to Lord Stanley’s Cup

  20. ThisYearsModel on

    This is much ado about nothing. Avery chose to go to arbitration. This is what happens in arbitration. Each side has to justify their salary submission. I am sure that Slats has the mid-point between the two amounts targeted. Avery has had a checkered career, at best. He had a terrific 48 games for us, playing with Shanahan. Is he truly growing as a player? I am fine with the Rangers waiting another year to decide before locking him up long term. If he decides to run for the money, that will be his right. If he truly loves being a Ranger and is productive, I have to believe that he will be signed long term.

  21. There’s no way Avery WAS a detriment to the team but he certainly can be. The Rangers are playing this smart by not locking him up long term. He will come back this year, in a contract year, and have a huge season. And if he wants to truly stay in New York perhaps he will learn to keep his big mouth shut a little more. He wore out his welcome in Detroit and L.A. so it doesn’t shock me that Sather is taking his time before he signs the most HATED man in the NHL to a long term deal. The “Genius” is playing this one perfectly.

  22. While I am no huge Sather fan, I am sure his comments were taken out of context, or he was misquoted.

    Why would a team take someone to arbitration (which means the team wants to retain the player) if that player is a “detriment” to the team?

    When a player is truly a detriment (e.g. Aaron Ward, Adam Hall… to name a few), historically, we have gotten rid of them.

    Obviously, this organization wants Avery and all this are just normal business tactics for each side to maximize their interests.

  23. BlueClue – Avery took the Rangers to arbitration, not the other way around, sp I guess they were forced into it. I’m sure they do want to keep him though.

  24. Spiderpig

    Avery took them to arbitration because he thought he was being low-balled.

    The Rangers caused this all to happen, so effectively, Sather caused this hearing.

    1.3 million is way too low for a guy like Avery who can easily score 20 goals and have 35 assists, along with bringing many intangibles to the table which aren’t easily valued.

  25. hey guys. for whatever its worth, i work in the securities arbitration industry and i’m willing to bet that slats definitely did not inject the “detriment” language and that it was probably thrown in by the attorney who wrote the brief. that being the case, the language probably went under slats’ radar.

  26. ORR Kicks Yin Yang....( Again ) on

    We all want a piece of the Cuth in the end….Its a package deal….NYR gets Avery…We get to see Cuthbert at games….Sounds good to me…

    In the end im sure this will all work out…

    Imagine how Jagr would react if we lose Avery…Jagr said himself hat Avery was the savior of the season…..

  27. i just wanted to add that sather probably didn’t even read the thing. our clients rarely, if ever, read the briefs that we submit on their behalf. why would it be any different here?

  28. :throws glowrings in lawnboyvt’s direction during Hood jam:

    Whatever happened with Sather, it’s on him to make good on this with Sean. If things were taken out of -contents- context, he needs to make that known. Avery doesn’t strike me as a particularly sensitive individual at all, but as someone mentioned, he’s human. In a league where he is already *hated*, it would be nice for him to be able to know his current organization has love for him all the up to the GM and owners. Slats needs to man up and make good on this in some way or another. Sure it may have been a “leverage tactic”, but at what cost?

  29. Doodie Machetto on

    “a guy like Avery who can easily score 20 goals and have 35 assists”

    I don’t think he’s capable of that on a consistent basis. One or two years maybe. I really don’t think he is that gifted offensively. He had a good run with us once he was traded, but even Hossa was scoring a bunch of goals then. I say his production numbers will be lower on a more consistent basis, like 15g, 25-30a. That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a valuable player, I do. I just don’t see him as getting more points than a good third liner.

    When the arbitration ends, is that award the only contract that they can agree to?

  30. Doodie

    I am saying that he can easily score 20 goals and have 35 assists because in NY, he was playing in the proper environment to do so and next season would only continue to mesh better with his linemates.

    In 29 reg season games here last year, he scored 8 goals and had 12 assists. He was also a +/- plus 11 in the 29 games.

    Your estimate is very close to mine and I don’t think that those numbers are unreasonable for him at all.

  31. Kinda agree that Avery is not particularly gifted offensively, especially choking on all those breakaways in the playoffs. However, the points he did score for us were pretty clutch. He scored a few big goals when they were needed and lets not forget the last second pass to Shanahan.

  32. I haven’t been among Avery’s strongest advocates, largely due to his reputation and giving the Buffalo Sabres plenty of inspiration. I do worry about undisciplined play (see Malik’s lazy penalties) and how often we played the man down. In some games we played almost a full period down.

    Having said that, Avery WAS a spark for us—but then again, that is when Lundqvst got hot too. Does Sather plan on letting him go and putting Peca in there, somewhere, to be our “agitator”?. I would rather Avery. He is young, and maybe he can learn to contol himself a bit, not take penalties, and really prosper in New York.

    It also is reminiscent of the Devils grounding down Gomez in Arbitration. I had a feeling after a particularly nasty arbitration that Gomez would NOT follow Brodeur and accept less money to play for an empty arena and a team that badmouthed him in arbitration. These guys are sensitive to remarks made by the representatives of their team, hence, “Sather IS the New York Rangers” when it comes to the club. (No different than one of you guys representing your company to the public. “Verizon is nasty” because of one snotty receptionist…you get the picture.

    Unless these guys are both “wink, wink” and will sign a 3 year deal and make nice-nice (could they actually BEAT Avery at arbitration, agree to the FIRST year at the arbitrator’s value and then give him a 2 year PLEASANT extension?

    He is young, he is energetic, he draws penalties and he can actually put the puck in the net. I also thought he would get SOME of Cullen’s money…

    I hope Sather knows what he is doing. With the UFA signings, he has earned the benefit of the doubt, for at least this summer.

    anyone read Rodent on Lundmark? Funny, I’ve never read anywhere that the Rangers ruined Lundmark’s career. I have always read that he simply did not work out, here, or elsewhere. Same with Brendl. The only complaints I have read were regarding throwing 18 year old Malhotra out there when he wasn’t ready….

    I think Rodent enjoys lighting up straw men.

  33. Hockeybasednyc on

    Shouldnt be scratching your head Sam

    Maloney got a better job, one that he couldnt get here

    Orts can be replaced by many prospects who can put the puck in the net.

    Cullen can be replaced as well and it was needed to clear some space.

    As far as the Avery thing goes – HE talked to the press about it. Sather didnt bring this out. Avery also elected to go to arbitration. If you can’t be a man about playing hardball then you should have negotiated more. He can dish out all the criticism and its cool but when someone criticizes him to present their side of the argument its wrong.

    Avery is being a baby. Suck it up. This is a business.

  34. Help me out lawyers:

    If you are management, and you are gonna negotiate to a common ground, don’t you need some CONS to bring to the table to keep Avery’s bloodsuckers from asking for the moon and actually getting it? I mean, if Avery’s guys sit down and say, “Sean saved your season, and did all the little things that haven’t been seen at MSG since ’94.” Slats has to come back with something. I don’t know how Brooks got hold of this. Unless Avery handed it to him. I am a bit confused. You have to hope that Sather is just doing the ugly part of business, and when the dust settles everyone gets a fair deal, and we can put it all behind us.

    Avery may be the most popular NYR in years. Hate to see him in Uniondale.

  35. Cuch July 30th, 2007 at 12:48 pm
    Welcome to MSG Sam where “strange� is the only way to describe a world run by Jim Dolan. One only needs to read SI’s article on Dolan a few months back to know how “strange� the place can be. At least Jim isn’t forcing Avery to go watch his band to keep his job with the Rangers. Some days is very hard to love a team thats run by so many self rightous morons.>>

    Well said. You have this druggie narcissist with a billion dollars. I cannot think of anything worse. I think he is the reason:

    JD is gone
    Sam and Al have become embarassments—-shills for MSG

    Under other ownership, a lot of things may have been different over the years. I think Gretz may have been involved with us and Brian Leetch would have been honored properly and probably retired as a Ranger. (I know, I know)

    Here is a guy who makes employees come to his own personal rock concerts starring himself, and everyone is TERRIFIED to say word one against him. Little Napeon with all the paranoia he can muster. Crazy.

    Imagine breeding him to Paris Hilton? Imagine them married fighting over who gets the bigger mirror and the best shirts with their own images on them??

    I wanted to vomit when Mess referred to the little squint as “Mr. Dolan” when he was fishing for the GM position.

  36. If people want to truly understand why Sather had all of these statements in his arbitration submissions, think about it from a legal perspective. In essence he is going to court to prevent Avery from winning and he has to have valid arguments which the arbitrator will be convinced by. Its no different than any legal proceeding, except that it appears Sather is taking personal shots at Avery, when all he is doing is providing justification as to why he is entitled to 1.3 million a year, not 2.6 million. Im sure Avery’s agent prepared him for this and he should not be shocked by it, honestly. Good Ol’ LB has just blown this out of proportion. We all know he does that from time to time….

  37. Doodie Machetto on

    Not to stray too far off of topic, but I’m planning on taing a trip to Montreal pretty soon. Does anyone know a really cheap way of getting there? Like a certain bus line or really cheap airline?

  38. Sather should fall into a puddle of AIDS.

    What an asshole. Even if it is posturing, you don’t make outright lies against him. I hope the fans really give Slats crap this year. If Avery ever leaves us, I hope he becomes a massive Ranger-killer… a nice slap in the face to that cigar-chomping c-sucker.

  39. Hey, correct me if I’m wrong, but at one point last season, maybe the playoffs, didn’t they ask Avery to tone it down a bit and he produced a goal or two and some assists? He’s by far one of the better players we have accquired lately and a GREAT fit for our team. Sather, maybe your time is up. We’re going from making great moves in the off-season to questionable (maybe even poor and risky) moves.

  40. Slats is not lying is he “lawyering.” And its no coincidence those two words sound awfully similar….

  41. Sad to hear that Sather has chosen to diss Avery and his contributions to the Rangers. If Slats needs a reminder of what pansies the Rangers were before the Avery trade he just needs to pull out a tape of the Shanahan/Knuble collision (Flyers) game. You all remember that game where the Rangers got run early and often out of their own building. To me it was the low point of their season and a gigantic disgrace. Or Shanahan having to fight Brashear because none of his teammates would stand up. That crap didn’t happen again once Avery got here. Even Orr was inspired to become tougher once Avery led my example.

  42. Sather should fall into a puddle of AIDS.

    What an asshole. Even if it is posturing, you don’t make outright lies against him. I hope the fans really give Slats crap this year. If Avery ever leaves us, I hope he becomes a massive Ranger-killer… a nice slap in the face to that cigar-chomping c-sucker.

    Totally Agree!!! SATHER is such a F*/cking M*/ron it is completely Laughable!!! I’d love to pour a Beer on his Head, Push him down a flight of stairs & then kick him in the B*/lls … I Hate that Tomato-Faced B*/tch!!!

  43. Honestly, I don’t think anyone here gets it. Its not like hes going to Sean and saying, “Sean, we really think you are a detriment to the team and you take too many penalties. Also, we would like it if you scored some more and were a better teammate.”

    C’mon people, its just business, not personal. Imagine if you were going up against him as management, how would you show that hes not entitled to double the amount of money he is asking for? THIS IS NOT PERSONAL, JUST BUSINESS. Accept it.

  44. Sam – according to what i read last week the arbitrator has up to 48 hours to make his decision, so i’m guessing it could be as late as Wednesday afternoon before we hear for sure.
    As for what was said – its business, not personal. I’m sure when they sit down later this year to discuss his next contract (or sooner than that) Slats will apologise and give his reasons.

    I’d be surprised if the award is over $2m so i’m saying $1.8m. (and if it goes that far Hossa will get $950k).

  45. The bottom line is you do not cross Slats. Avery did and no Glen is going to give it back to Avery – even if it is a detriment to the team (pun intended).

    Would have killed Sather to say something like this. “Yes, Mr. Avery was a part in our playoff run last season. However, Mr. Avery also tends to put himself in the position where he takes bad penalties which, at times, is counterproductive to team play.”

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