Tortorella on Avery, and the deadline


Seventeen other NHL teams wanted no part of Sean Avery. Yet the Rangers couldn’t get him fast enough. So here we go with Avery II.

Rangers coach John Tortorella, who as a TSN analyst said earlier this season that Avery was a selfish player and embarrassment to the league, sure sounded different today:

“He was an effective player here. I didn’t see all the games, I wasn’t here for it, but I know he was an effective player and can be an effective player, so we’ll go to work and see if he can help the club to win. That’s what this is about, trying to make a team better and we’ll get him in here and see where he can go.”

On the TSN comments:

“I coach this situation just like (with) every other player. I believe in team concept. I believe in a team helping one another and not stepping out, hurting a team concept. To me, that’s the way I’m going to approach this situation. I know there’s going to be a lot of people want(ing) information and turn this into a bigger thing. Sean Avery is a player coming into the New York Rangers organization. We want him to fit in and play under a team concept. If he does that we feel he can be effective.

“He’s a player like any other player we might pick up in the next day or so. My role is to teach him. To me it’s easy because I’m doing the same thing with these guys. Sean’s just five or six days behind, as far as with me.”

Worried about two passionate people banging heads?

“No, no, no, no. Players bang heads all the time. I think players, when there’s conflict or personality … I believe in personality within the hockey club. I think that’s very important. When there’s conflict, I think that’s good, unless it isn’t done under a team concept. When you have conflict, then you must be hitting a problem head-on. You’re not hiding from it. Once you work through that conflict and you do it respectfully, I think you become tighter as a unit. Those types of situations, I think everybody’s afraid of that, and I’m not just talking about with Sean. I’m talking with all players. I had major conflicts with a lot of players in Tampa early. But now we respect one another, we understand why we went through it together.”

“We feel, especially in the division here, we feel we need a little bit more jam on our team, and hopefully he can kick in a couple of goals as we go along the way here. Again, I haven’t coached Sean. I want to see what he’s all about. I’ve seen him play, and when he’s under a team concept and concentrating and playing under a team concept, he’s an effective player. So that’s what we’re looking for.

“I know you guys all want to see how this is all going to go, but he has really tried to help himself. And as I’ve said, Glen (Sather) believes in second chances.”

Does Tortorella believe in second chances, too?

“Oh, sure. I’ve made major mistakes along the way, coaching. I look at Dmitry Afanasenkov, who was on the ice in the last minute of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals against Calgary, where we shipped him (to the minors) and I didn’t even want him anywhere near the team at the beginning of that year. And there’s been a number of other players along the way. I’ve learned also, that you don’t give up. You can’t give up on people. It still may not work out in certain situations, but I still think (until) players mature, we just don’t have a handle on that. If we knew when players were going to mature mentally, then it wouldn’t be any fun as we go through here because we’d have all the answers.”

Torts said he has no idea where Avery fits into the lineup, and won’t until he sees him practice tomorrow. Nor does he know if he’ll be able to play Thursday on Long Island, or what his conditioning level is.

I asked him if he expects the Rangers to look very different after the trade deadline:

“You’re asking the wrong guy. I coach the team. Glen and I have had talks with Schoeny and we’ve talked about our team as far as maybe adding a little size to it if possible, because of the division we play in. But you could look at all different aspects. I know Glen Sather wants to improve this hockey club and I think at trade deadlines that’s what every general manager wants to do. There’s not one specific thing. If there’s something that pops up and he thinks it will help the club, I’m sure he’s going to explore that. It’s all about trying to improve your hockey team.”

On the whirlwind first week as coach:

“What city am I in?

“I’m settling in here. I’m beginning to understand the players. I feel much better about where they fit in. We’ll bring Sean in and see where he fits in. But this is our team. This is our team. I don’t think there’s going to be any blockbusters going on as far as the New York Rangers, and I don’t want to speak out of turn. But I coach the hockey club, Glen manages the team. He’s been wide open with me. We’ve had great communication. Whatever happens here we’re going to try form it and try to make this the best team we possibly can down the stretch, because we’re fighting for our lives to get into the playoffs and that’s the most important thing.”


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  1. If we could have signed Avery for 1.9 million in the summer, he would have never left. So the Avery haters (i cant believe there are some) need to think of it in those terms and deal with him being back.

    Since Reitz has a broken foot and was waived, the Rangers really to need to put a nice package of picks and role players and bring in a solid d-man and we are ready to go !!!

  2. He sounds like a coach. He’s on the team – there’s nothing to gain by saying nasty stuff. I think Sean needs this to grow – I think he can be an effective player (see last year) and under the right tutalige and in the right environment he will provide.

    Hey – there aint no stopping it now!

  3. Around and around we go! I believe in second chances also. I wonder if Avery realizes yet how lucky he is? I hope so, he can be a very good player.

  4. Sean, u broke my heart the first time u left! The circus is baaaack! Welcome home! lol
    i am dying to hear what our beloved announcer are going to sing now that Avery is back! This is just way too much fun for one season!

    Btw, Voros and reitz both got waved… I just saw it on NHL Network

  5. hahaha

    Sather’s made 3 moves today. Each one of them has made our team smaller! (not yearning for reitz or voros…just kinda funny that Tort’s only interest has been ignored.)

  6. Salty,

    His value is actually zero if no one else wants him at any price. How can his value be league minimum if no one is willing to pay him league minimum?

    *Kind of my point, but good clarification… if there is a value, it’s the minimum…if not then it’s zero… but NYR wanted to get him… so he’s got to make at least X amount, which I’m saying is minimum ($440k?)*

    That said, the fact that only we claimed him on reentry only demonstrates that no one else wanted him for $2M, not that no one else wanted him at all. Surely, some other team would have picked him up if his price were somewhere between league minimum and $2M.

    *Excellent point that I didn’t fully consider… I still don’t think anyone actually wanted him… but yeah I’m sure there are teams that would have taken a cheap gamble… good call.*

  7. It was made pretty clear by Sean and his agent that he only wanted to play for the NYR. This whole thing has been in the works for a very long time.

  8. I’m still pinching myself here because never in a million years did I think Sather would hire a guy like Tortorella as his cosch. I have to give Sather credit here. He finally has seen the light.

    Good to hear Tort’s attitude about Avery. I was thinking there might have been some kind of friction between him and Sather for bringing in Avery but it sounds like Torts can keep him in line. And if he can’t, Sean will hit the road.

    Avery has had the fear of God put in him with the situation in Dallas, so I guess that he’ll want to make the best of this second chance. The only problem I see is that the refs will be watching him like a hawk and we’ll be shorthanded often.

  9. I wonder if voros will be sent down or traded now. I really can’t see anyone wanting him at this point, he really hasn’t been very effective here.

  10. “We feel, especially in the division here, we feel we need a little bit more jam on our team, and hopefully he can kick in a couple of goals as we go along the way here.”

    exactly. and that is what he brings. not a savior, but a good role player who can improve the teams’ forecheck and grit and compete level, compared to Dawes and Voros

  11. I’d like to see an Avery – Dubi – Zherdev line out there but I think Torts is committed to making Dubi one of the top 2 line wingers

    What is more likely? Some kind of Avery/Korpikoski/Prucha mix?

  12. Torts just put avery in the corner…”We want him to fit in and play under a team concept. If he does that we feel he can be effective.”

    **I’m thrilled to be back in New York and plan on making the most out of my second chance,” Avery told Sportsnet Tuesday.**

    Forget all the smack, he has to be happy he is “home”, and I love all this polite, amiable, conversation!!

    March 30th **red mark the calander**

  13. Can’t we just accept and give credit to the Overlord for this move. It was brilliant. We didn’t lose any kids. We got tougher to play against. A guy who fits the system nicely. A guy who will sit in the blue seats and hang out. A guy who wants to be here. A guy that is fun to watch. The Rangers have their alter ego back. . . .not to mention their undeniable record when he is in the lineup.

    And he can teach us how to dress too.

  14. hey Carp (or whoever went to the rink today)

    did anyone directly mention Tortorella’s TSN quote about
    and what was his reaction?

  15. I’ll also say this: Somewhere deep down I always felt that Avery would end up back in NY, from the minute he signed in DAL. That’s why I was so surprised to see him “act out” when he came back with DAL… I thought he’d be trying to keep that bridge back to NY open… I guess it never really closed although I think it should have.

    Rob C.

    I love the “challenge” of this blog. I welcome people “rubbing things in” when they make a call on something especially because I’m the first one to take credit for predictions. It’s a give and take of credibility, and I stand proudly by my perception of what’s going on with the organization. I’m sure the rest of the season will be exciting with Avery, I’m sure it will look like a great move. I’m thinking about mid-season next year when he’s bored and decides to make headlines. The guy is a problem that we don’t need.

    That said I like you as a poster and I know we’ve agreed on plenty in the past. Nothing personal, but challenge my posts with something like “NEXT.” and I get excited and WILL have a rebuttal… I thikn that’s why a lot of us are here, no?

  16. My original gut feeling was that Avery would slot right onto the 3rd line with Korpikoski and Prucha. He brings more there than Dawes, in my opinion.

  17. Salty, I agree. And I used “NEXT” because you always use it, haha. The argument is why we come to the blog, for sure. If there was none, there would be no point in sitting here, refreshing the comments and waiting to throw your 2 cents in. It sure as hell beats doing real work.

    In any case, we will see how this pans out in the long-term. But for right now, I think this is a good move, because he helps the team and fits right in with Tortorella’s system.

  18. We will see. I know the positives Avery can bring on the ice. I just would hate to see him throw a wrench into Tortorella’s gears in the locker room.

  19. For the last 18 games forget about lines being numbered you need three great lines and we can have them…
    Korpedo-Betts-Shoe/Orr/P.A. or A.A.


  20. one hopes that he
    realizes that this may be his last chance
    and i imagine that Torts
    would have one of his
    one-on-one meetings to discuss
    that matter with him.

    screw up here with antics
    and he finishes his career in the minors

    he might bug players off the ice
    but it’s possible that he could bring
    something on the ice.
    and let’s face it. if he would have taken
    2 million a year he would have never left.

  21. Doodie Machetto on

    “If we could have signed Avery for 1.9 million in the summer, he would have never left. So the Avery haters (i cant believe there are some) need to think of it in those terms and deal with him being back. ”

    I would have taken him at 1.9 million in the summer before we signed Redden, Rozsival, and Voros to such ludicrous contracts. Voros has been waived, which alleviates some of the problem, but I would still much rather have the cap space (now that we are burdened with those contracts) than Avery.

    Speaking of Voros and Reitz, Reitz being waived is a no brainer since he has the broken foot, but Voros is surprising. And look Renney, it wasn’t Petr Prucha that went away! Although, with that cap space cleared, I imagine there are definitely deals in the works, and Prucha is very likely involved in them.

    As for Satan, there is a 0.5% chance he clears waivers and frankly I’m shocked Shero couldn’t get at least a draft pick for him. He definitely could’ve gotten AT THE VERY LEAST a 5th rounder for him from a team looking for some depth scoring. Bottom line, I’m shocked if he goes unclaimed.

  22. actually i’m a little surprised that a lot of these players
    are going on waivers rather than being traded
    for a pick or as part of a package.

    maybe someone knows more about this. is it a matter that cap space has to come about before bringing on a player.
    i.e. the Rangers could not pick up a player who would put us over the cap limit and then waive/trade someone. they have to make the space before picking up the player.

    still, it’s an interesting change from the past
    i wonder if it something like that will be addressed in the next CBA because if i’m a current NHL player who finally hit a good payday and then i find myself back in the minors traveling around on a bus, especially if i’m down there only because of a numbers crunch, then i’d be pretty p****d.

  23. We needed a good first line, we went and got Avery?

    For 1.9mil, we could have gotten Shanny.


  24. yes,
    but don’t forget that the team wanted to get faster
    and Shanny wasn’t going to fit in with that.
    he may not have worked with Tortorella’s system.

    i don’t know how he’s doing in New Jersey,
    but let’s face it
    it’s a perfect situation for him.
    he doesn’t have to be THE MAN.
    he can blend and let Parise and/or others
    carry the load while Shanny can offer support
    (and not receive as much defensive attention because
    he’s just one piece of the overall puzzle)

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