Avery awaits word, Rangers preparing to play without him


Sean Avery’s meeting with Colin Campbell was scheduled for late morning, but we still don’t know what the fall-out will be. It would seem unlikely that Avery would be brought to Toronto and not be suspended, and the Rangers are preparing to face the Devils in Newark without him.

With that in mind, consider these curious line combinations from practice today, which featured Scott Gomez centering Chris Drury at left wing and Brendan Shanahan at right wing; Greg Moore between Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg; and Blair Betts between Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha. The only unchanged combination was the Jaromir Jagr-Brandon Dubinsky-Marcel Hossa unit.

Tom Renney said these lines were by no means in stone, but he moved things around to accomodate Moore, who after starting the season AHL season at wing, has moved to center.

Either way, a lot depends on whether Avery is suspended.

As for the allegations about Avery referring to Jason Blake’s cancer before the game on Saturday, Brendan Shanahan was vehement in saying they were completely false.

More in a bit…

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  1. Two things: Why on EARTH would you take a center and make him into a winger, and then take a winger and make him a center? That seems pretty absurd to me…

    And! In order to further support my idea about Avery and his warm up bullshit about not being penalized before the game starts, Bob McKenzie at TSN.ca said this:

    “At previous general managers’ meetings, the notion of putting referees and/or linesmen onto the ice for warm-up has been discussed but never instituted as policy. In isolated situations where the league feels there is the potential for problems – like when Minnesota and Anaheim played earlier this season – on-ice officials have patrolled the warm-up.”

  2. Ahhh, scratch my first comment, after re-reading Sam’s post, it makes it seem like Moore changed to center in the AHL, it’s not just a special thing being done with him being called up to the Rangers. However, in any case, why not just make him switch back to winger for the time being? Unless they believe that Drury can make a better transition to another position than Moore?

  3. Personally, I don’t think Hossa needs to be a given on Jagr’s line. Sure, he’s good in the corners but without Nylander to receive the puck from him after a battle, he doesn’t know what to do with it.

    Here is what I think about the Rangers’ lines- if you remember last year (which I know you all do), Cullen didn’t start clicking until he was put on a line with people that could actually skate with him. He started with Shanny and all you’d see was Cullen already behind the net with the puck, getting checked while Shanny was still laboring up the ice. Once Cullen was put with Prucha he had someone with similar speed to dish the puck to in the offensive zone.

    Having said THAT…

    GOMEZ needs to skate with Prucha. Gomez was too fast for Jagr. Plus, when Nylander would gain the zone he would curl around and CONTROL the puck so that the other wingers could get set. Gomez gains the zone and immediately looks for someone to dish to. He’s used to being able to give it up to Elias who can do a thing or two with the puck. 2 completely different styles.

    I think Drury should be given more time with Jagr if the opportunity presents itself although I do like Dubinsky centering Jags. I’m just not sure Dubinsky is ready to center the TOP line which needs to score, score, score.

    Any/all comments are welcome. This whole line juggling thing is totally out of control. At some point Renney is gonna need to let these guys get to know one another for more than a couple of games.


  4. Sam: Update us ASAP with any Avery news you may have. Not that you wouldn’t but just in case you were going to hold out on us….

    Also, kudos to whomever put the Jennifer Nicole Lee ad on the site. Not too bad to look at while I’m reading up on Rangers’ rumors.

  5. hockeymanrangers on

    I read somewhere that the Toronto coach heard most of the pregame garbage Av’s was talking and he was fine with it. If it was anything serious I would think he would be the first to complain. I sure hope this does not take the wind out of Avery’s sails. Although I could not see the game Saturday night it sounded like he had a awesome game. And I know he had a good game against Pittsburgh in the previous game. I hope he can brush this off and keep playing and pestering they way he has been.

  6. I like dubinsky up front on that line. It allows the depth that we have to be utilized every night. No one wants to(or does) pay a 3rd line center $7-10mil. But the balancing has been working for us, for the most part. And if Jags wants Dubs up there and is putting the extra time in with him during practice – it’s all good in my book.


  7. And Paul Maurice’s words on the incident were his style all the way. He’s a great coach that knows the game.

  8. This is such bull shit. I cant stand this snymore, is Colin Campbell trying to screw with NYR. So far this season, we have to do everything the hard way, while teams like the Isles and Leafs, and most Canadian teams get it the easy way. I hope Colin Campbell gets hit with a friggin baseball, and breaks bones in his face. He’s such a moron, he takes weeks to decide what to give Jones, then he gives him 2 fuggin games, which was completely unfair, but not even 2 or 3 days after the game, boom, he is already ready to suspend or fine Avery. That stupid a**hole. If he gets fined, or suspended, then Tucker, Blake, and Belak should as well. Tucker and Blake were the ones that reacted first, and then Belak gave threats, this sh*t bag is a career minor leaguer at best, and he’s making threatning comments just so he can make the team. I cant stand this, this is what makes me sick to my g*d damn stomach, the NHL has a bunch of friggin morons upstairs, they need to fins someone who can do the friggin job right.

  9. “No one wants to(or does) pay a 3rd line center $7-10mil. But the balancing has been working for us, for the most part.”

    Don’t worry about the 3rd line center’s salary. He’s only the 3rd line center this year. When Jagr retires after this season, I expect Drury to move to the wing and our middle to be Gomez, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Betts.

  10. Yeah, I’d agree with that. And we’ll see what happens with Straka. UFA july 1. Shanny too.
    This team could look all kinds of different ’08-’09.

  11. Tony, I actually vehemently agree with you on the line combos. Our first line isn’t a threat because we really only have one threatening player up there: Jagr. Dubinsky isn’t at a skill level yet where he can set up Jagr or bury the puck like Nylander did and Hossa, while useful in PK and shootouts, is not a set up man and has yet to score in regulation. Get him off the 1st line now. I say keep Dubinsky at center and try moving Drury up to the first line as a winger. It’s obvious Gomez is hitting his stride on the 2nd line, but Jagr and Drury are still looking for it.

  12. Renney is an idiot. Why would you take the best faceoff center on your team and play him on the wing? Seems absurd to me.

  13. Beer Me,
    Straka and Shanny have pretty much confirmed they are retiring after this year. The question is Jagr.. he has an option year in 08/09 and he MIGHT count against the cap at his full salary, not half.. could be a very different team indeed.

  14. prucha and dawes are being wasted playing with someone like betts. i dont think dubinsky is a hinderance to jagr’s line scoring. the problem is that like it or not jagr is not the same player. he is great holding on to the puck but he dooesn’t have the hands to make the passes or the moves like he used to. people may not want to agree with this and i hope he proves me wrong and scores 40 goals, but even strength this year he does not look like a player who can score at will

  15. Don’t kill the messenger on this one – but TSN is saying that Jagr could end up on the block this year based pretty much that, Pavel.

    I guess we’ll see Feb 26th (trade deadline) just how it all plays out.

  16. I wouldn’t mind TBH.. unless Jagr gets back on pace for another 100 point season.. it would all depend on what we would get for him. I love Jagr, but I love the team more.. whatever is best for us.

    If I had mind control powers, I’d trade him and Malik for Phaneuf and Tanguay.. haha

  17. You know what I wish Jagr would do? Go to the middle. Come down the wing and just cut to the middle. Instead he ALWAYS take the puck to the corner, uses his body to fend off the defenseman, USUALLY keeps the puck but does nothing with it. If he’d just come down the wing and then cut to the middle he’d catch the defenseman off guard and give himself a half second to pull the trigger. Lord knows he does still have a fantastic shot although we hardly get to see it. I know this is all very easy to write and a lot harder to execute but still… the Rangers ARE paying him a ton of money.

    Is it me or does Shanny finally look old. I love th eguy and he can obviously still put the puck in the net but he just looks a split second behind on some plays. Maybe that concussion really did leave an impression?

    Do you think it even possible that the Rangers would trade for Nylander at any point? I’m serious. If the Caps are struggling and there was an option to get Nylander for 1 or 2 players, would you do it? I would. The chemistry that Isaw between Jagr and Nylander is something that comes along very rarely. In fact, I’d trade Straka AND Dawes. Shed some salary. I know, I’m crazy.


  18. Leaf Fan here. Any idea which Ranger said they wanted to “strangle” Avery after learning what he said to Blake/Tucker? My hunch was Shanny, but I’m not so sure now.

  19. Ninja you loser….go back to Toronto with your other loser hockey fans and players. Shanny emphatically denied Avery said anything in relation to Blake’s illness. You little scamps up in Toronto get burnt by the Rangers and showed up by Avery and you cry like a bunch of pu$$ies.

  20. SAM!!!!


    I’m dyin’ here bored outta my mind at work. I leave @ 4:30 – Hurry up!

  21. Right Ninja…because some reporter never massaged a story to make it sound that much more palatble and sellable for the newspaper, especially the Toronto Star, a pillar of journalism in the world.

    You are a clown. You believe everything you read, esp as it is written in a hometown paper, and then come onto a Ranger blog and try and stir $hit up.

    If Belak was such a tough guy, he’d have gone after Avery right then and there, or during the game. He had 60 mins to do something and instead he saves it for the newspapers. What a loser! If it was really such a serious comment, I would think more than one Leaf would have done something about it, aside from Tucker who had a history with Avery anyway. If the Rangers had not won the game, would anything have been said about it at all?

    The Leafs are a has-been team. You will be sad when this story dies down because you guys will be golfing early this year and Matt Sundin will be retiring and you will have nothing to talk about. So, might as well try and keep the story alive by talking more $hit about it.

    You are a clown. Go back to your hole.

  22. I don’t think he was trying to stir anything up Newman. He was simply asking a question and you jumped down his throat. Relax and realize this is the kind of BS that you have to deal with when a guy like Avery is on your team. Why do you think he’s been on so many teams, he burns every bridge he crosses.

    and Belak was a scratch for the game so he couldn’t go after Avery.

  23. Fair enough on the Belak scratch. But clearly no one else on the team thought it was that big a deal or else they would have done something about it. Or if it was a big deal and they didn’t do anything about it, even worse for the Leafs and the Leaf fans…..

    Dec 6th at MSG, we’ll see how tough Belak is.

    Maybe Ninja wasn’t trying to stir $hit up, but quoting some reporter from the Toronto Star is half a step from quoting the National Enquirer.

  24. I really hope Avery isn’t suspended as a result of this. He never initiated physical contact. And Rucchin, I fully agree. If Avery is suspended for what he said, then Belak needs to be suspended for calling Avery a marked man.

  25. Newman – You need to settle down a bit. You’re too busy attacking people to listen to what they are saying.

  26. Looks like it’s a big deal over nothing…From BB

    “While Sean Avery is in Toronto for a hearing with Colin Campbell, back here at the Rangers’ practice rink, Brendan Shanahan vehemently denied that the Rangers’ superpest said anything about Jason Blake’s illness, noting that Blake himself and Darcy Tucker confirmed that. Jaromir Jagr denied that anyone in the Rangers’ dressing room would have ever said anything like that to the Toronto radio reporter who first floated the story and who may have to face legal action by Avery. Jagr also noted that a) Tucker and Blake were equally culpable for the pre-game altercation just for being there — they had the option to skate away, and b) Tucker was at fault for letting Avery get under his skin and escalating what until then was nothing. (There will probably be more on this from Blueshirts Blog and Rangers Report — they had their recorders running while I was watching the guys on the ice.)”

  27. Good look Prucha27. That reporter might not have a job tomorrow.

    Maybe Newman is right about those reports passing along BS to sell a story and maybe Ninja was just trying to be a d*&k. Who you going to believe? Jagr or a reproter from Toronto.

  28. Doodie Machetto on

    I think the problem discipline-wise with Avery is that it was two pregame scuffles, more than the issue of what was actually said.

    Whether it’s the other guys making the first physical move or not, two pregame scuffles for one guy in a week, when they are incredibly rare to begin with: Campbell is just trying to take preventative measures to keep things from getting out of control.

    It’s like something a firefighter told my class when I was in 2nd grade: the best way to put out a fire is to make sure it doesn’t start. Colin Campbell is probably just finding out what kind of shit Avery actually says and making sure that it isn’t coming close to something like Blake’s leukemia.

  29. Doodie Machetto on

    Yup, we sure missed out on him! (via Spector’s Trade Rumors)


    LOS ANGELES TIMES: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks defenceman Maxim Kondratiev has been suspended for failing to report to their AHL affiliate in Maine.

    HOKEJ.CZ: reports Kondratiev will join SKA St. Petersburg later this month. He’d signed with them during the summer but utilized an “opt-out” clause to play for the Ducks this season.

    Spector’s Note: As Kondratiev is on a one-way contract he’d receive his NHL salary in the minors. Something tells me Ducks GM Brian Burke won’t be brokenhearted if Kondratiev heads to Russia.

  30. Did anyone see Sutton’s cheap shot at the end of the Islander/Flyer game last night? Pure head huting with intent. Any news on him being suspended??

    Colin Campbell are you too busy dealing with this BS to take appropriate action??

  31. Pavel -I think you’re off base re Straka saying he’s gone after this yr. In fact if the Rangers were going to open up next season in the Czech Republic he was looking forward to that. A lot will depend on his health and if the Rangers show interest in him coming back. He’s a proud man and does not want to stay if his performance does not merit it. Also if the team is not interested. So time and his performance will tell the tale.

    Ninja – no one knows at this time. Avery is talking re suing re libel. I have no idea who to believe. I do think he’s being called out since this was his 2nd pre game altercation in the last week or so.

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