Strange days, indeed


I’m sure when I look back at the two seasons I’ve spent covering this team and writing this blog, there have been crazier days around the Rangers. It’s just that none spring to mind right now.

All I can tell you is for the briefest time — from the time when I first received a phone call about Sean Avery from my office, to when I started checking things out on my own at the MSG Training Center –I was under the impression that today was going to be a much darker story than it actually was.

Readers of the blog may know I like to poke fun at Avery, and not without reason. I’d call him colorful, but given the various storylines swirling around him this season — contract negotiations, shoulder injuries, inappropriate cancer remarks, wrist injuries, libel suits, media boycotts, dates with Olsen twins, prostitution rings, goalie interference rules, snubbed handshakes, more media boycotts, Vogue internships, and last but not least, cardiac arrests — I’m not sure colorful does him justice.

It doesn’t matter if only some of those stories are true.

And yet given all that, those uncertain moments today were hardly amusing. Avery may be the most hated player in the NHL, but he’s also someone’s son, and a number of people’s teammate. I don’t care how many F-bombs he drops at opposing players in a game. I doubt anyone wanted to hear that he was in serious danger.

And if he wasn’t ever in cardiac arrest, Avery was still severely compromised last night by playing with a lacerated spleen. But he kept playing nonetheless, and although he didn’t know the exact nature of his injury, he didn’t bother going to the hospital until after the was over. Suddenly the one hockey game I played with a mild sore throat doesn’t seem so tough.

“Sean’s an incredibly gutsy player and he takes this very personally,” Brendan Shanahan said. “We all do. We all take this very personally. And sometimes when you’re in a game like that and you’re hurting, (you think) maybe it’s a bruise, maybe its a pull.. It’s when you wind down after the game you realize its’ something worse.

“Sean gets a lot of attention for a lot of other things – some fair, some unfair — but the one thing you can never question his competitiveness or his desire.”

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  1. Sean epitomizes the guy you’d love to have on your team, and hate to play against. 150% every shift. Here’s wishing him a speedy recovery, and a new contract!

  2. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    Tell Hollweg Sidney is thankful for making it so easy on us.

    Get well Sean!

  3. Amen..

    Avery is good player and a good teammate.. 3 yrs reasonable money take him back in a second…

    he is the best pest in hockey…

  4. Sam – Way to tug at the heart right there! I’m so glad Avery is going to be OK.

    Jorek – I was hoping there would be a game six on Monday because I am getting back from college on Sunday and wanted to do your thing, getting there early to see the players and get autographs and/or pictures. Hopefully, there’s still a chance for that!

  5. If the season wasn’t likely ending this week, how long would Avery be out? I’m guessing since he is “out for the season,” that means at least six weeks. He’ll probably be able to work for _Vogue_ sooner than that, but not necessarily running to get coffee for everyone.

  6. GoCaptClutch! on

    really well said, sam! so glad he’s OK…

    i really hope when the rangers go out (its inevitable, i think) they go out on home ice. they all deserve to be applauded by their fans, especially jagr. no one has more heart.

  7. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    will someone explain to me the stupid playoff buses? i like the Rangers and all but why do people freak out about getting on the buses?


  8. Tony from AZ on

    Thanks Sam
    Get well soon Sean, Glad you’re on our team – I’d hate to play against you – LOL

  9. Thanks Sam.

    Even Gary Roberts said he hoped Avery would be okay. These players are flesh and blood not a video game. Sometimes in watching them we forget how much physical punishment they take for our amusement.

    God Bless Sean and a speedy and full recovery to him.

  10. YEahWhatever on

    Avery – “gutsy player”. Funny! So Karma is alive and well. Not that I’d wish that injury on any human, but if it absolutely had to happen to a hockey player Avery deserves it the most.

    Tell Jagr I said “hi” when he’s playing in Studdabubba, Russia in a week.

  11. in addition to chants or signs for JJ there should be the same for Avery tomorrow night. get well soon Sean.

  12. about the playoff buses: its not about the people on the bus, its about showing pride in your team, something bandwagon fans of other teams can’t understand I suppose. We get to drive around Manhattan and make total fools of ourselveds all while cheering on the teamwith players like Shanahan and Jagr (future hall of famers) Dubinsky and Staal (rising stars) and Avery (perhaps the biggest ass in hockey but a man who cares about the team with all he has)

    Spider when the game is on Mon let us know and we will meet you and get autographs togehter.

  13. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    thanks for telling me who the Rangers are I already know who Shanny Jagr Dubinsky and Staal are.

    so the buses are like REALLLY BIG bandwagons?

  14. Great, great post.

    Hah, not to nitpick but I think there’s a minor error:
    “…the one thing you can ever question…”

    “Can’t ever question?”

  15. Sean – Get well soon Buddy!
    Hope the rest of the crew can suck it up and start to take this thing back one game at a time.

  16. yeahwhatever maybe your girl captain wants to fight the old man Jagr, then you’ll see real tears and a real nose dive from your girl baby. But she’d probably use her stick or a skate blade , and call step daddy mario & uncle buttman. Now go back in your groundhog hole .

  17. Doodie – Huet couldn’t beat the Flyers either, albeit with a worse team, probably. No firing in Montreal when you come in first.

  18. yan, how about just an AVERY CHANT regardless of what happens in the game. I want that to go one for about 3 minutes…

  19. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    Jagr looked so amazing. Like the Jagr of old. The look on his face was of such ferocity at times; when he was in the box and the ref signaled the goal counted he did the not too excited fist pump with the smile of relief was classic. I want a photo of that I haven’t seen him that emotional ever.

    This is a great guy, a brilliant hockey player and a true leader. You guys better hope the Rangers are smart enough to sign him up for 2, maybe 3 more years.

  20. Doodie…I don’t think so. They can find someone of equaly capable caliber in the FA market.

  21. Hey Spider hope we get to meet you on Monday for autographs- I didn’t realize game 5 and 6 were back to back!
    Yeah I think we are making a JAgr sign, Shanahan sign, get well soon Avery sign, and a couple just Rangers in general signs!

  22. Sidney Crosby's Mother on

    No shanahan sign. As much as I love him he’s on his last legs and can’t make it past a playoff series. Maybe if they’d let him pull a Forsberg and pay him less money.

    Definitely Jagr and Avery. They need Rozsival too if he’s a FA.

    “Maybe the pressure is a little bit getting on us,” Jagr said. “It’s too late to talk about it right now. Focus on the next game.”

    A Canadian columnist began to ask Jagr about how everyone expected this to be a long, close series. Jagr cut him off.

    “It is over? I don’t think it’s over. Think it’s over? Talk to me after series over,” he said, walking away to the showers.


  23. I think its gross people starving themselves and doing stupid stuff. Ever see the old movie called They Shoot Horses DOn’t They– thats what survivor makes me think of!

  24. I don’t know if i’ll miss the rangers or this blog more next week . Sam, thanks for being the best Rangers reporter on the beat. 2 years on the job and look at the following you have on this blog. seriously, take a look at zipp’s blue note or larry brooks’ crappy blog. Neither of them can hold a candle to you. combined, their 2 blogs don’t have 1/2 the amount of replys Rangers Report has. And most of the posts on the other blogs are nonsense, personal attacks. Congrats to the fans who follow this blog too…good info, good opinions and for the most part we keep it clean.

  25. dr. ogrodnick on

    Shanny should stop giving quotes, as it will probably tire him out for tomorrow.

  26. czechthemout!!!!! on

    Sean Avery is one of the most important players on the Rangers!If not for him,The King,and Jagr,the hayena would be out of a job,just look at the record with him and without him in the lineup.Some here have questioned where is Avery in this series and even in the playoffs? Well,he has 4g and 3 assts in 8 games.He played with a lacerated spleen last night,he played with a bumb wirst for a large part of the season.He gets physically abused game in and game out and never draws a penalty for that because of the obvious bias against him from the league.I’ve watched him now in a Rangers uniform for a year and a half and am hard pressed to recall a single dirty hit,slash,elbow,a hit from behind,or any other cheap shot like he constantly gets.He’s produced on the score sheet and with his grit.He deserves multi year contract that is in the 3-4 million per year range.We as an orginization,pay shit like Malik,Backman,Rozy,Mara wya more money than they deserve.Sean rightly deserves the money.His jersey sales are only behind the kings in total sold.He brings excitment and an edge to this very passive and timid hockey club and if he’s allowed to walk,it will come back to haunt us.

    So get well Sean,you are my 9 year old daughter’s favorite ranger and when I told her you might have had a heart attack she almost started to cry.

  27. “So get well Sean,you are my 9 year old daughter’s favorite ranger and when I told her you might have had a heart attack she almost started to cry.”

    Why would you have told her that?

    As for the Canadiens, don’t look now, but all of sudden they have a series.

  28. Poor kid czech! I’m glad you were able to tell your daughter he will be ok!
    Everyone says he is dirty but I have never seen it.

  29. VS is a friggin joke. they don’t let you hear the anthems either. that is part of the buildup to each game, as CBC so rightfully recognizes.

    who cares what bill patrick thinks back in the studio??

    and Umberger now has 7 goals, leading the Flyers. but Sather did not want him. what a dipshit. too busy re-signing Hollywood

  30. “—I’m not sure colorful does him justice.”

    Sam, great blog entry. And I want to congratulate you (or possibly your editors)for having the fortitude to not regurgitate the BS put out by the competition. I know in today’s media, it’s a tough temptation; you held out for the accurate story and rightfully so. Very good job. Anyone who says otherwise (as one very rude poster did on a strand)should hang their heads in shame.

    The lack of pain during competitive hockey and the extreme adrenaline it prompts can mask a lot of problems. I recall getting nailed in the corner one game and going down. There was a scrum for the puck and I felt someone banged my ankle. It wasn’t until the end of my shift that I realized the knick I felt was a skate blade, which had carved a nearly inch long cut to the bone on a half-dollar part of my ankle not covered by my skate or kneepads. Didn’t hurt one bit. Not when it bleed all over the place. Not when I got my equipment off. Not when I made the fateful decision that it wasn’t that bad and I could just stero-strip the thing up.

    It was about two hours later when the adrenaline finally wore off. And it was one of the most painful awakenings of my life.

  31. Doodie

    Flyers won up 3-1 on Montreal. ECF final FLyers and Ice Chickens would be awesome. The Flyers will lay the smacketh sown and make Cindy Crosby their b*tch. It might be very entertaining. Biron>Fleury.

    IMO Gainey is an idiot for dumping Huet.

  32. czechthemout!!!!! on

    Doodie- she over heard me talking about it with someone and asked.And yes I told her later that he will be okay.Needeles
    to say,she was happy to hear that.

  33. Pat LaFontaine on

    Too bad it did not happen at the Nassau Coliseum so the Islander fans could have flipped over his ambulance a few dozen times.

    Only thing excessive for Avery would be to throw the ambluance with him in it off a mountain as opposed to a cliff.

    In a few year when Avery is playing elsewhere you’ll feel the same way.

    Just ask Chris Simon.

  34. Hockeyman Rangers #2 on

    I think Avery is great, he keeps things going when the long season gets to be just that “long”. I am so glad we have him because you know if we ever gave him up he would be more a pain in the a__ to the NYR just b/c we traded him away. I really think he fits so well in NY no matter what we do next year he fits it.

  35. tdchi

    You’re giving Sam way too much credit. Do you honestly believe he was anywhere NEAR this story? He, by his own account, was in his office picking his nose when a call came in ELEVEN HOURS after the fact to alert him that something was up.

    And before any bozos come out of the woodwork to pile on, I have a feeling Sam himself would not disagree with my assessment. Don Van Natta, Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh he is not — but a clever, witty turner of a phrase every blue moon or so sounds just about right.

    Rangers in 7!!!

  36. Hey Hab Fans —- Eat me. You’re getting embarrassed. And I love it. And I effing hate the Flyers! But so many of you loser Canadien fans have disgraced this board over the last 36 hours that I find myself actually being at peace at the prospect of Philthy bum-blasting you frogs all the way back to Ste. Catherine’s Street. A-holes!!

  37. i say Sather gives avery a contract TOMORROW bring it to the hospital bed for him to sign…

  38. Doodie — Go away.

    You’re a feeble excuse for a fan. Go away.

    Oh. By the way? Keep your word and go away.

  39. Doodie Machetto on

    I am a Rican from Harlem, I likey boys with tight asses, and Rangers jocks to sniff. My papi spanked me, turned around and said “Do me next mariconne. Habs inside/out site serves the rice and beans I like mucho.

  40. Tony – just made a complaint re the bs abuse of 9-11. so try not to respond to the fool. hopefully something can be done to eliminate their access.

  41. Sucking for eight years was bad but thinking and listening or reading about how good the Rangers are and then watching them lose in the second rd twice in eight years sucks even more imo.

    Crap coach and not enough skill players to make a difference and that isn’t going to be fixed overnight or in eight years for that matter. I have reached my low point with the present people in charge mainly Renney who can’t get it done and I want the guy gone along with a bunch of the present cast. We won’t get that we will get more of the same. One playoff round every year.

  42. You can’t win a Playoff game with a goalie who allows 5 goals on 15 shots. King Henrik picked a bad time to really suck. Also, you just need to score on the power play. We had over 4 minutes up 5 men to 3. Come on. A younger team with more talented players, a hot goalie are out playing us and with a lot of confidence.

  43. Jagr quotes from yesterday:

    “I think we should play the same way. We shouldn’t be nervous. Outside this room I don’t think there are many people who think we can turn it around. But what’s important is that we think we can. I think because we have nothing to lose it makes us a very dangerous team.

    “Once you get down 3-0 you’ve got to look for something positive. Of course it’s tough because only two teams did it, but it’s not impossible. Let me tell you one thing. There are millions of playoff series played in hockey over those years. You’re going to forget a lot of them. You’re going to remember the one you won in overtime, Game 7, finals. But if you can do something special everybody’s going to talk about it. There’s a chance. People dream about that stuff. So do I. Never happened to me. I’ve never been down 3-0 and come back. That’s what makes it special. I didn’t want to be in that situation but once you’re in it, you’ve got to look at the positive. There’s a lot on the table you can win.”

    “I’m talking about the series not my hockey career. I’m 36 and feel like 25. I don’t think age is important if you work hard. If you do a lot for the game, it doesn’t matter how old you are. The hard work always overcomes everything. Maybe not the injuries, but everything else.”

    “I’m going to play tomorrow to try to win the series back, not thinking about myself. It’s going to take care of itself. I’m going to try to play to win the hockey game, to have a chance to play the next game. That is my goal.”

    “If you don’t produce what they expect you to produce, you’re bad. If you do, you’re just what you are. There’s no victory for that. You’re always going to lose. But that’s fine with me. I love it. I love every situation. I love those games when everything’s on the line. I love to be on the ice. And I’m not going to change. That’s what drives me. I know one thing, it’s all about practice. It’s not about the age. It’s all about practice and hard work and nothing else.”

    Jagr may still be back if he does not find what he is looking for with another N.H.L. team. All the talk of him returning to Russia is just that, talk. The Rangers probably will not bring back Brendan Shanahan or Martin Straka to a team looking to get younger, but there is little doubt that the Rangers still believe in Jagr. It is a matter of whether he believes back.

  44. more…..
    “You have to understand, there are a million people who can criticize me for whatever reason, but if you look at hockey history, how many players stay at the same kind of level at my age for 80 games? It’s not that you don’t want to, of course I wish I could play every game like the playoffs, but it is impossible to stay at that level for 20 years.”

    “People remember you at that level, and even though you still produce, they are going to say you don’t have it anymore. Even the greatest players – Wayne Gretzky – did he get 200 points at age 36? But you do it once and people expect the same. It’s impossible.”

    “When a guy gets older, you have to pick the time that’s important for you,” Jagr said. “You can let people criticize you for not being great, but you know you’re going to be good. Maybe I would have been able – I’m not sure – maybe I could get 100 points and 50 goals, but then nobody could guarantee I would be healthy for the playoffs. What if I hit the wall? Then it would all be for nothing.

    “I know how I have to play. Maybe people won’t agree with me. I understand that. But how many people have been in the same position? Not many. You have to do it night after night for such a long time and when you don’t produce to the level everyone expects, you’re bad, but if you do, that’s [just] what you are.

    “There’s no [way to win],it’s fine with me. I love it. I love to be on the ice. I’m not going to change. That’s what drives me.”

    I still have hope that the Rangers can turn things around and make history..Why not ???

  45. “You can’t win a Playoff game with a goalie who allows 5 goals on 15 shots. King Henrik picked a bad time to really suck. Also, you just need to score on the power play. We had over 4 minutes up 5 men to 3. Come on.”

    loneranger – I said the same thing yesterday. It’s not all hank’s fault, but in the playoffs your goalies has to be your best player. He hasn’t been. And the pp is a joke.

  46. lenny you can even wait with your coach is no good statement. Too bad you can only see things as your mind decides. But that doesn’t make it true, just your opinion which I disagree with. You’re looking for perfection, start with the refs.

  47. 8 teams left in post season right now.

    Avs, Stars, Sharks, pens, flyers all went out and addressed their needs at the deadline. Det is just nasty. Gainey in MTL made one of the RETARDEDEST moves in deadline history. (yes, retardedest…thats how bad it is). Slats did not address the needs that the NYR had/have. He made a move to dump and underacheiving high draft pick & benchwarmer, and brought in a ‘project’ dman. That’s so far from what we needed its not even in the relm of retardedest, it’s much worse.

    Glad to hear Avery is going to be ok. I must have been having sympathy pains or something yesterday, cause I had quite a bug of my own to deal with.

  48. Just got this from a Penguins blog apparently when told of AVery’s injury MAlkin said “well if he dies, he dies.”

  49. Sam, I really need to ask you a question to you as a journalist:

    What is really the reason behind that journalists write such stuff about Avery (all the best to him) that he was consciousness not breathing and beeing in a life threatening situations when it is simply not true …I mean I do not want to attack someone special about those stuff because it happens over here as well..

    Why don´t the media to do what they should do to report and write what is really going on, which is their job ! What is the reason behind it just to create kind of fear for everybody around which involved the family of hockey..

    I am admitting that I am rifting one more often with kind of those people. What is really behind the reason to write that stuff. How can you write that kind of stuff even before you have checked if it is really true. You guys can make your living about writing about the sports, which means making your hobby to the job, but why is this happening ???

    hope you come up with an answer…..

    I hope Rangers can win tonight to avoid a sweep and they maybe go to Pittsburgh for game 5 and nobody knows what can happen…

  50. The answer as to why they write that stuff is because it makes a flashy headline so more people will buy it and read it. BAd and scary headlines sell faster than good news.

  51. Avery get well soon and I hope you and the Rangers organization come to an agreement and see you back with us next season, anyway regardless what happens tonight at least we beat the Devils in 5 however it will be sad since tonight could be Jagr & Shanahan’s last game as Rangers players and playing for the NHL, they will surely be missed.Next stop for them both would be Hall of Fame.

  52. I’m over my sulking from yesterday and I’ll be there tonight cheering my ass off. I really don’t know what to expect tonight, will the Rangers go out quietly? Or will they fight and take it back to Pitts? LGR!!

  53. Clive Diggs on

    They’ll fight. In fact, bringing a kid or 2 into the lineup might make the team focus better as a whole…at least for 1 game, I hope.

  54. one game at a time get the win tonight. Make this a series. We are going to be back at the garden Monday night. Let’s go Rangers

  55. Tucson Ken on

    Thanks for the signs. Saw them on TV Tues. Nice to see true fans show their love in spite of the Rangers current predicament.
    Too many haters when things not going well.
    Go Rangers. Good Season, keep it going as long as possible.

  56. Win one for the Gipper, Win one for Seannie, Win one for your fans, Win one for Renney, Win one tonight because we know you can beat them. Do it and Do it tonight.LGR

  57. I could ALMOST find a little respect for Slats if he showed up at Avery’s hospital room with a contract.

    As much as I’m a Rangers fan, things look bleak. I might become a Dallas Stars fan after tonight. We still have a chance to see Lundqvist’s name on the Cup!!!

  58. Who Needs Lohan (thinking about changing name to Peppery LaPue on

    MAlkin said “well if he dies, he dies.”

    I believe that wasnt a quote from Malkin but from the Karate Kid.

  59. “MAlkin said “well if he dies, he dies.”

    I believe that wasnt a quote from Malkin but from the Karate Kid.”

    It’s from Rocky 4. Ivan Drago. LOL

  60. Who Needs Lohan (thinking about changing name to Peppery LaPue on

    Billy, I knew something wasnt right there and then I realized I had clicked Submit.

    Now I feel like an A$$hole!

  61. Confusing Rocky 4 with Karate Kid doesn’t make you an A$$hole, it just makes you “80’s challenged.” Work on it and you’ll get better.

  62. Lohan – Nice reference though.

    Someone needs to put the hurt on Malkin and Crosby tonight to let Pitt know that the series is not over yet. 1 game at a time.

  63. LLL



    SS SS
    SS SS

    GG GG
    GG GGG
    GG GG

    OO OO
    OO OO
    OO OO

    RR RR
    RR RR
    RR RR
    RR RR

    A A
    A A
    AA AA
    AA AA

    NN N
    N N N
    N N N
    N N N
    N NN

    GG GG
    GG GG
    GG GGG
    GG GG


    RR RR
    RR RR
    RR RR
    RR RR

    SS SS
    SS SS

  64. Who Needs Lohan (thinking about changing name to Peppery LaPue on

    Yeah, it just makes me a complete moron. Must have been Hollwegs fault. Everything else is right……

  65. Who Needs Lohan (thinking about changing name to Peppery LaPue on

    We got the idea Richter…..

  66. Another early Golf Season on

    The confusion about Avery being in cardiac arrest went something like this.
    He walked into the hospital with severe back pains. The ER doctors brought him into a curtained exam table. During the discussion one of the Doctors was talking about the Rangers
    being in Cardiac Arrest. Avery said ” Hey don’t make me laugh it hurst more when I laugh.”
    Avery then said yes “I guess the Rangers do need Mouth to Mouth if you consider the game we just played.”

  67. Is what I heard correct? That no team has ever won 8 straight playoff games? really? I’m surprised if it’s true.

    I would LOVE to see one of the kids break their NHL playoff cherry tonight.

  68. Jock Sniffer Rocco on

    Jorek and BillyNYC, The Plane, Boss,The Plane. Regards from Tatoo, Fantasy Island.

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