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.
“Seanâ€™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 youâ€™re in a game like that and youâ€™re hurting, (you think) maybe itâ€™s a bruise, maybe its a pull.. It’s when you wind down after the game you realize itsâ€™ something worse.
“Sean gets a lot of attention for a lot of other things â€“ some fair, some unfair â€” but the one thing you can never question his competitiveness or his desire.”