Meet the new boss, same as the old boss


While we await the results of the Sean Avery arbitration hearing and marvel at “the harsh treatment”: the left wing is receiving from Rangers management, let’s try to put things in historical perspective.

For much of his tenure in New York, Glen Sather has been known, depending on who you ask, as either a bold, careless, or at times, even passive executive. And yet what’s easy to forget is that the shrewd negotiating tactics we’re seeing from Sather right now were very much his trademark during his heyday in Edmonton.

Bear in mind that Sather was renowned for building up a player during the season, and then tearing them down when it came time to negotiate a contract that summer. It was the reason for the departure of Paul Coffey in 1987, when the relationship between the defenseman and Sather had soured enough that Coffey was eventually traded to Pittsburgh; and it came up with a number of other players in that era as well.

I mention this not to endorse what Sather may be doing, because for one, I’m not sure it’s the right tone with a player as tempestuous as Avery. But it may help explain some of what’s going on.

More later…

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    Doodie – As I said before, the teams have until 48 hours after hearing the award, but in this case, since there is Hossa’s coming up later, the Rangers can wait until 48 hours after hearing Hossa’s number, since it is their last arbitration hearing, according to TSN.

    You See Juicy Markkanen going over to Finland. I don’t understand why he couldn’t get a backup job, since he had a 2.15 GAA last season. Maybe he’s a bad presence. I just liked his name when he was on the Rangers. We got him when we traded the rights to Messier, right? But then we re-signed Messier anyway.

  2. Sam

    What is the right tone with Avery?Open the vault and take as much as you want

    Avery is a grown man.He filed for arbitration

    Suck it up

  3. Sam,by going to Brooks with his woes is’nt Avery showing exactly the immaturity and selfishness that the Rangers are accusing him of?

  4. I don’t applaud what Sather is doing, but simply for the fact that he isn’t saying anything that is false. Avery does have a penchant to take bad penalties. He was warned (at length) by refs and linesman during the playoffs for his antics and he disappeared in the Buffalo series (while Zubrus was punishing Jagr shift after shift, I might add).

    Now I’m a huge Avery fan, and I know what he means to this team, but I also feel that some of what is going on is that management may have floated him the idea of taking a deal at slightly less than market value this year, and next year when some salary comes off the books, he’ll get his due. Avery and his ego (do we really need to debate that he has a huge one?) said “No”, that facilitated the Cullen trade, and caused management to go into arbitration with a chip on their shoulder. I don’t have an insider info, but that’s just my idea.

    I don’t thinkt his will effect Avery’s play, in fact it may make him play that much harder because he’ll have something to prove. Unfortunately, it may only be for this year coming. He may elect to sign elsewhere when he’s a UFA. It’s a huge risk.

    I don’t agree with it, but I can certainly see it going down that way.

  5. Avery is acting like a baby in the media. It’s pretty damn annoying as a fan to see him act like that.

    He needs to grow up and grow up fast. It’s a business.

  6. Doodie Machetto on

    I agree. Avery needs to stop crying to Uncle Larry and hit the gym and start the season strong.

  7. OK, OK, we all get it. Business is business. But the last time I looked Avery was not on Jagr’s line, so he can’t be blamed for allowing Zubrus to push Jagr around. At least Avery brought some balls to a team that prior to his arrival had NONE.
    The fact is that the Rangers have not even addressed their lack of toughness this off season, so the likelihood of Jagr and Company getting knocked around again is 100% sure. For a guy that played tough and acts tough Slats has failed to get this team tough. He’s the one who should be taken to task, not Avery, without whom the Rangers would not have made the playoffs or any type of a run last season. They were dead in the water before his acquisition. He was the missing sparkplug.

  8. Cliff, I disagree. Where else can you get tough without hurting the offense and overall team play? Defense, because of Malik, should be better than it is, but we have Orr, Hollweg, Avery, Prucha, Callahan, Hossa, and Shanahan when necessary to provide the toughness. We may see Kaspar coming back on defense, even though it’s a long shot, but he would set us completely.

  9. I have an idea, if he wants to be a careless old bag, do it in Edmonton, with Edmonton’s players. We need a new General Manager who won’t dismantle the progress this team is making, which I dare to say has little to do with Glen “The Hammer” Sather.

  10. Avery not being on Jagr’s line has zero to do with it. It’s very simple. Zubrus hits Jagr. Avery hits Biere. Zubrus hits Jagr. Avery hits Drury. Kotalik hit Rozsival. Avery hits Campbell…and so on and so forth. Who did Avery hit in Buffalo? He barely hit the ice hard.

  11. It is obvious that Sather is protecting cap space at the expense of a very important player. That is poor management. Avery does NOT deserve that (considering the part he played last season) – no player does. There are more professional ways of going about salary negotiation without personal attacks on the worker/player.

  12. Oh geez, here we go again. GMs working the CBA, playing by the rules and once again getting chastized for doing it. PLAYER ELECTED ARBITRATION people. What did Avery expect Sather to do, tell the judge Avery is the 2nd coming of Graves and that without him we won’t win a cup? Avery is a tough guy, and if he wants a future in this career he’ll play hard regardless if he makes $2M or $1.5M. I’m just glad Sather didn’t play it this way with Lundqvist.

  13. Doodie Machetto on

    Rich, I’m not complaining that Sather is lowballing Avery and pointing out some of hi statistical and on ice flaws. But to attack his character was a poor move.

    Avery crying to Brooks proving Sather right is even worse.

  14. Avery didn’t really cry he just said he was suprised at the treatment. He didn’t say we are breaking up. He just said I feel hurt right now. As for this being okay, if Sather did this to Lundquist we would all, me included be trying to lynch him (or at least tar & feather). Avery is as intricate a piece a Lundquist. Want proof when we won in ’94 we had a guy called Tikkanen. When the Avs & Wings were dominant in the 90’s they had a guys called McCarty & Claude Lemuix. The list of roll players on championship teams is LOOONG.
    Not saying we can’t without him, or with him we are a lock but it is a long standing FACT that guys like Avery HELP MORE THAN THE HURT.

  15. Doodie Machetto on

    “Avery is as intricate a piece a Lundquist”

    HA! Lundqvist is the future of the team. For the next 12 years he will be THE deciding factor on how well we do.

    Say Avery turned us around all you want: Truth is it was Lundqvist that righted the ship. He played lousy the first half of the year and turned it on the second half of the season. Lundqvist gave us a chance to win almost every night from January through the playoffs, and stole a couple of games fo us too. The guy went from not an all-star to Vezina nominaton. That’s how good his 2nd half form was.

  16. Avery defintley helps the team. he reminds me of Tikaneen but without the shot and little bigger. When he is discplined which seems to be most of the time now he is an effective player and we need him to win the cup.

  17. “It is obvious that Sather is protecting cap space at the expense of a very important player. That is poor management. Avery does NOT deserve that (considering the part he played last season) – no player does. There are more professional ways of going about salary negotiation without personal attacks on the worker/player.”

    The more professional way you refer to is avoiding arbitration. As people said when Hank was on this path it should be avoided because bad blood comes from it. Arbitration is the last ditch effort, just b/c some people do not know about the contract talks that go on behind closed doors does not mean they did not occur.

    Avery probably wanted a longer term contract which we rightfully did not want to give him. We could not come to an agreement in time so it comes down the arbitrator.

    Now that this has happened though we are not going to just roll over. In negotiations you do not point out the good. Many of you clearly are under 13 but when the adults bought their houses did they go in and tell the Realtor how much they loved the house and had to have it?

    Sorry Campers but you point out flaws and you do all you can to get the price down. Now obviously people can be offended unlike houses but we got one quote from a VERY biased source, my bet is that was the worst of it.

    Avery is playing his cards just the same as Sather and I would bet he is trying to make the case he is the next coming of Graves.

    Personally I am fine with Sather’s approach, I would much rather hurt Avery’s feelings with minor things like that then to lose him for this year b/c we cant pay him 2.6 mil. I see as Avery as a player that we have for 2 or 3 more years at most.

  18. Doodie –
    Lundquist did have a absolutely phenomenal second half. But you think think this team is any good with the leadership of Jagr & Shanahan (to name a few), or the Youth of Prucha (to name one). You need all of the pieces of the puzzle. A good agitator who actually puts up some numbers & defends his teammates that is a HUGE piece, HUGE. Someone who can take a whole team of their game, score a clutch goal for you, & fight some thug who needs to be put in his place. What more is their other than Hanky’s job, which he is & will be one of the best for a LOOOOOONG time. Avery’s job, especially in the new NHL is hard to come by. That is why he is just a valuable as Lundquist because he is just as hard to replace. Someone like Jagr & Shanny are the same. Someone like Mara, Malik, Strudwick, Cullen, Betts, & so on not as hard to replace.

  19. Doodie Machetto on

    Fred, I agree with you on how long Avery’s tenure will be. I have a feeling that he is the type of player that can only play in a city for a couple of years before he moves on, a la Steve Thomas or Pierre Turgeon. Don’t ask me how I got those two Islanders dregs in my head, but that’s who I thought of.

  20. Colorado Mark on

    Jay W- Sorry, man, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that the team is making progress and then dismiss Sather having any hand in it. The same argument people have been making about Sather being the GM so it doesn’t matter if Cam Hope wrote the brief. Who acquired Avery? Who Drafter Lundqvuist? Who signed Shanahan? Who traded our old vets in 2004 that set up our young prospects? I have hated Sather, but you can’t say he has had nothing to do with the ranger turnaround.

  21. don’t agree with Sather here at all. There are ways to address a players short comings without making it overly personal. Avery will probably be a far less effective player this yr as he tries to tone down his act in response to all this unnecessary criticism. And we can forget about having him beyond that even if he does not change his game and sucks it up. Sather will spend some ridiculous amt of money on a free agent d man this yr or next. Take care of your own you fool. he already wildly overpaid the centers much as I’m glad to have them. Liked his work in early July. Hated his work since (Cullen and now vicious attacks at Avery). He’s hurt our cup chances immensely the last few weeks.

  22. Doodie Machetto on

    Tim, you don’t win with a bad goaltender. You can win without an agitator. End of discussion.

  23. Doodie,
    1) I never said Avery was MORE important than Lundquist. I said as important as you tried to make fun of me for early.
    2) If you think Avery is just an agitator then you are missing so much…

    We just disagree on this, oh well.

  24. Doodie Machetto on

    That’s not to say you don’t need the other pieces, but some pieces are infinitely more important than others. That’s all I’m trying to say.

    If you’re using the chess analogy, Henrik would be the Queen, the most powerful piece. Avery would be some toher backrow piece, important, but not nearly as much as the Queen.

  25. Doodie Machetto on

    Avery IS just an agiatator. I’m predicting this right now: his point total from his time on the Rangers last season was a fluke! It will never be like that again.

    I love the guy, I think he brings great energy to the team and is one of, if not the, best agitators in the league. He’s like Hollweg, except he is better both at agitating, and at playing hockey. In fact, he renders Hollweg pretty useless. But people that think he can put up point totals like Prucha or Callahan will are just crazy. Think Matt Cullen totals.

    And fine. You said as important. But again, he’s not AS important as Henrik. Nobody is on the team that is AS important as Henrik. Nobody.

  26. When Avery filed for arbitration, he knew what he was getting himself into. I’ve no sympathy for a man who willingly shoves his head into a hot stove, than exclaims ‘it’s hot!’.

  27. Tim, same could be said that you don’t win a cup without a big physical d-man, which we don’t have… Avery is a piece but one that can be replaced, there are other agitators out there that do it as good if not better but Hank has been a vezina finalist the 2 years he’s been in this league, he is the most important part of this franchise and what made us quickly go from a rebuilding team with no playoffs in 7 years to trips to the playoffs in each of his 2 years.
    This is part of arbitration tho, you can’t go in and say “I want this player and he’s great but he doesn’t deserve what he’s asking for,” its not the way it works. Both are at fault tho I do see a little truth to what sather is saying. He has been a distraction for all 3 teams he has played for and yes that includes us, running his mouth before the sabre series in which he was almost invisible in.
    As for turgeon, I don’t see him as one of those players. The trade for lafontaine that landed him on the island worked out great for both teams and if it wasn’t for dale hunter his career would have been a lot different. Plus that trade to Montreal was awful, esp for muller who didn’t want to go to the island anyway.

  28. I think the truth of the matter is that LA couldn’t get rid of the guy fast enough, and we took him when nobody else wanted him. He was terrific for 25 games, and whether it was simply his addition, or getting rid of the two Wards and Hall and adding Callahan and Girardi, or Hank turning it on, or the team finally totally buying into Renneys defense first system, or a combo of all of those things, who knows? But 25 games do noty turn you from a guy who would be looking hard for an NHL contract to a guy who gets $2.6 million. Avery and his agent both realize that THIS right now is probably his best chance at a large, lucrative, long term contract. Will his value ever be higher than it is now? Hard to say, but it may not be, and specifically, he has more value to the Rangers than anyone else in the league.

    I loved the guy, I hope he plays for us this year, but he is not by any means the only reason the Rangers will make the playoffs and perhaps do damage this year…

  29. Jason – I totally agree & have been saying since the Souray debates that we need a defensive dman.
    As for Avery – What is wrong with Cullen numbers from a guy whose “only job” is to get under people’s skin.
    Plus people have mentioned his energy, you think his teammates don’t feed off that.

  30. Tim, souray was the wrong guy, too much money with feet that resemble cement. There were other guys out there.
    Avery does bring a lot of energy to the team and everyone points to him as the catalyst of why we played so well in the last few months but if you look at the month of Feb, we did not play well at all, it wasn’t until the ward trade where we brought in Mara that things quicky gelled and we went on a tear

  31. I am not saying that Avery is the savior.

    I am saying he is one of the best at his roll, if not thee best. (No dispute I assume?)

    I am saying that he put up decent numbers for a guy who isn’t supposed to be a goal scorer. I personally think he will get better. 20-30G 20-30A.

    Is he worth 2M+ probablly not, but all of sudden everyone seems so anti-avery I can’t figure out why. He is REALLY good at what he does & REALLY helps our team. Plus he would be REALLY hard to replace.

  32. Those are big numbers for a 3rd liner. I think I, the same as everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop with avery as it did in Detroit and a lot worse in la. He went into both places with a lot of promise and before you knew it, he was a distraction. I like him as a player but he talks to much off the ice for me.

  33. Colorado Mark on

    LI Joe- Vicious attacks? Are you serious? (He is sometimes detrimental and he needs to mature as a player?) Read the Blueshirt Bulletin for a well written discussion on this.

  34. Colorado Mark on

    Tim- I don’t think anyone here is all of a sudden “anti-Avery”. I love the guy and wish he were signed, but I have no problem with the tactics used, especially since it is Avery who elected to file for arbitration and it was Avery who whined to Larry Brooks. See my post to LI Joe-

  35. Sather will look like a genious for this.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Avery on this team. But, If you give him a multi year contract right now, he could get comfortable and you may not get the most out of him. If you fire him up and force the issue, he will give all he’s got everynight to market himself for free agency. If he gives us what we need, and the team is doing well, do you think he’ll reject a contract extension after January?? I really doubt it. New York is a very desireable team to play for, especially if they are competing. If Avery does what he’s supposed to do Sather will reward him.

  36. The crapy part about arbitration is that it isn’t a 2 way street. It isn’t both parties saying the other party stinks. It’s a player building himself up, and management tearing him down. All Sather really had to do was take a list of comparable players with low salaries and use that as proof of Avery’s worth. We all know that the arbitrator usually just splits the difference in cases like this anyway…

  37. I think the tactics where just a little to hard, he was the one who had to prove his intangibles, which he most likely wouldn’t have been able to do to the tune of 2M+. I also don’t think we should have played patsy for him & said he Jeebus. I just can’t remember any arbitrations where the player felt the same afterwards. If Sean really does still love NY & the Rangers & the garden then Sather continues his brilliant roll. If not he may have cost us a spark plug

  38. Stempniak got 2.5 million without arbitration. His numbers are fairly close to Avery, but Avery brings a lot more to the table: hitting, agitating, penalty killing.

    BTW, big portion of Avery’s penalties are matched and don’t put the team shorthanded. On the other hand, Jagr’s 78 penalty minutes are mostly bad and selfish ones

  39. All those goals jagr has scored in the past 2 years have been pretty selfish too…. C’mon get real!

  40. Last night’s replay was a good example of Avery being a suppposed detriment. He draws bad penalties, but his all-out style causes penalties to be called against him, as well, justified or not (the interference).

    Let’s just all sit back and thank Lowe for signing hands-of-stone Isbister before we had a chance to. He made a couple good plays in last night’s game, but had two great shooting opportunities that he totally botched.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the defensive competition in training camp, and if they try Pöck, or possibly Struds, again at forward to help relieve the logjam and rotate during the game to defense; in Pöck’s case, to the power play point, and rotate by game with Hollweg and another defenseman.

  41. NYR fan in DC on

    First, let me say that I am new to this. I love the site. I feel as though I need to make a point about Avery. When he arrived the whole demeaner of the team changed. They became aggressive and hungry. They needed a spark and he provided it. I say give Avery 2.2 million at the expense of Hossa. Hossa hasn’t actually proven himself in the short time he was on Jagr’s line.

  42. The demeaner of the team did change but they still continued to lose and lose badly thru the month of Feb. He is simply not worth 2.2…1.8 yes but not 2.2

  43. Hey I love Avery as much as anyone and recognize what he did last year. And I’ve never, ever bought into the Sather genius label, not in Edmonton, and certainly not here. In fact, I thought he should be the first Hall of Fame retraction in coaching/Gm history. But I don’t get what he’s doing wrong here. This is the nature of arbitration, always has been and Avery chose to go that route. Brooks is acting like the low-ball figure the Rangers submitted to the arbitrator is the figure that he was using in salary arbitration. It’s absurdly low just as Avery’s is ridiculously high (he was traded straight up for Jason Ward for chissakes). And frankly Avery’s reaction (“shock”) to these supposed harsh statements is the equivalent of his worst flops trying to draw penalties that we love him so much for.

    And Sam, can’t wait til you’re back from vacation so Brooks isn’t the only news.

  44. Colorado Mark – calling him not mature, indiv as compared to team, inability to see ice (not as bad), and implying his overall approach to the game is selfish is vicious in my book. The guy was basically a model citizen. This was not Theo Fleury going off the deep end or Kevin Stevins going to East St Louis for crack and hooker. You usually don’t see me bash Sather or Renney as a matter of course. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything either. I hate the Cullen trade and I hate what was said to Avery. If me and in business my resume would be on the street pronto if I was Avery. The guy was very valuable. They could have gotten him for $ 2 mm without all the bs. And as others said he protected teammates and drew plenty of penalties. Bad move Sather (and whoever really wrote the brief). I’m going to love the talk re why Gomez or Drury is not worth $ 7 mm this year on this blog.

    “Avery is not a mature player. He plays, at times, like an individual rather than a member of a team. This is sometimes referred to as an inability to see the ice, and in Avery’s case this seems to fit with his overall approach to the game”.

  45. This is nothing more than a lame attempt at Larry Brooks to spin a story to create some publicity. My predicition, Avery gets awarded $1.5M/1-yr, plays his ass off because he goes UFA next year and wants to win a cup with what looks to be a great team this year. He either lives up to the challenge and we give him what he wants for a long term deal or falls short and we never see him again.

  46. TDB – Avery was not traded straight up for Ward. Ward was a throw in. A good prospect named Cliche was the real part of the deal, he was a 2nd rd pick.

  47. Avery was instrumental LAST season, now we have more depth and he will have less of an impact.

  48. Doodie Machetto on

    Let me ask you this: do you think he’s worth more than Prucha?

    He’s going to be a career 20+ goal scorer and 30+ for several years if used correctly. He’s getting 1.6.

    P.S., interesting stat about Prucha: he led the league in goals scored by players who averaged under 13:00/g. He scored 22 goals averaging LESS THAN 13 MINUTES/GAME!

  49. Doodie, he’s ranked high in Pts-per-$ and Pts-per-minute. The bigger question, in Avery’s case that is, is how do you put a price on intangibles?

  50. Rich, arbitration rules state that the arbitrator can no take intangibles into account when making his decision, only stats and both sides of the arguement

  51. Doodie Machetto on

    Putting the intangibles to the sie for the moment, what is is contract value WITHOUT the intagibles. Figure that out, then worry about what the intagibles are worth.

    Truth be told, without his intagibles, I wouldn’t pay him more than 1.2. Yeah, he had a hot streak when he got here. Hossa had a hot streak for a couple of weeks until he blew out his knee, but it still doesn’t mean hes worth more than 800k.

    I’d say his intangibles are worth 500k, just because for his good, there’s a lot of bad. 1.2+.5= 1.7. I’d give him 1.8 to make him happy.

  52. Doodie Machetto on

    sorry for all of the typos, my keyboard at work sucks. It’s like I’m Wlidracd without the gross over shilling for management.

  53. Its complete bullshit that Sather resigns Hossa before Avery. If Hossa gets more that 1mil. its the biggest rip off in the history of contracts.

  54. Doodie Machetto on

    lowell, it won’t be that much of a ripoff. 2-300k? look at the contract the Islanders gave Fedotenko. THAT’S a ripoff.

  55. The Ottawa Senators have re-signed centre Chris Kelly to a one-year, $1.265 million deal, avoiding an arbitration hearing with him. Kelly recorded his best season in 2006-07, scoring 15 goals and 38 points in 82 games. He also had seven points while playing in all 20 postseason games. In two full NHL seasons, and four games during the 2003-04 campaign, the 26-year-old has recorded 25 goals and 43 assists over 168 regular season games.

    Avery, 27, had a career high 48 points (18-30) last season with Los Angeles and the Rangers while providing his usual physical brand of game.

    That being said, how does Avery get much more then a one year $1.265 million deal ?

  56. “The guy was very valuable. They could have gotten him for $ 2 mm without all the bs”

    It is statements like this that make me cry. How the hell do you know that? You are throwing out random numbers based on what you want to think is possible.

    Look at numbers: Sather says 1.6, Avery 2.6, Split down the middle is 2.1mm. Sather being a professional knows that this is about mean for arbitration. Do you not think he offered Avery in that range to prevent arbitration? I would bet their contract negotiations were actually along lines of Sather saying 2mm while Avery wanted 2.2mm. We can not know what Avery asked for sure but many have indicated that he also wanted a longer term contract.

    Would you want to tie up a guy with that many question marks to a 3-4yr contract? If he screws up next year we would be paying him good money and he would be virtually untradeable. Management probably decided they would rather do arbitration then have that big of a risk, only time will tell but for now I think they are right.

  57. There’s truth and consequences in all of the statements submitted so far.

    My own opinion is that regardless how much the man signs for, or for how long, it was lousy to use such a scathing description of his performance.

    And Sather’s record up til just recently was very marginal at best.


  58. First of all, I move for a chant of “Avery! [clap clap] Avery! [clap clap]” every time he hops over the boards from preseason on through the first five games. If he knows the team and the fans love him, how much does Sather matter once the puck drops?

    Now, we all know Sather stinks – personally, I have yet to forgive him for the fact that Brian Leetch didn’t retire a Ranger. Hopefully, this latest blunder will backfire in his face, and Avery will be right back at it this season, and well compensated for his services.

    Finally, we should be glad that he went to arbitration…I’m sure Edmonton wouldn’t have hesitated to sign him to one of those ridiculous, “gutless” (tm Brian Burke) offer sheets they’ve been tossing around.

  59. In his mind (as an executive), he’s doing what’s best for the organization. Which is, finding out from a third-party what Avery’s true monetary worth to the team is. He’s not going to just drop $2.6M on Avery just because his agent asks for it. He’ll see what they award, then decide if he feels it’s a fair amount for this one player. I’d prefer they paid a reasonable amount for him and had extra cash to shore up the defense, or sign a 3rd line center to fill Cullin’s void. The time to scream would be if Sather decides that Avery’s not worth the $1.9 he’s been awarded. Personally,I believe it’s a fair price, and it still leaves the Rangers with some spending money under the cap. Everyone wins.

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