The first season of the show Seinfeld featured an episode about Man Friend Break-ups. Jerry has a friend from his childhood who he can’t stand, and wants to break off their friendship. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t shake the friend off.
Which is more or less the same scenario with the New York Rangers and Sean Avery. Yes everyone, he’s back.
After clearing re-entry waivers and spending some time with the Connecticut Whale, Sean Avery will start with the Rangers against the Anaheim Ducks. All of the signs fans have been posting may have worked after all.
There are honestly too many movie references that can be used throughout this column, ranging from Poltergeist to the Empire Strikes Back. While most people thought he was officially done, maybe we should have all seen this coming. Let’s not forget that Avery is the guy who we tried to let go of before and we wanted him back.
The relationship between Avery and the Rangers is weaseling it’s way into epic-ness. The relationship is almost reminiscent of Voldemort and Harry Potter. Neither can live while the other survives, and that is practically the exact same case. Avery can’t have an NHL career unless it’s with the Rangers; the Rangers, as we believe and so it seems, doesn’t have enough energy to win games against crappy teams unless Avery is out there.
Is it pathetic that the Rangers need Avery that much? Absolutely. Will Avery help the team improve? Eh. Maybe.
I said in my first column that Avery hasn’t been the same as he was back in 2007 and 2008, which was the height of his horror. This was the emergence of “sloppy seconds,” and numerous other misdemeanors that led players and officials, coaches and analysts into anger-overdrive. Once Tortorella came in though, that Avery had to retreat back a little. Torts is a take-no-shit guy, and he wouldn’t have any of the Avery that was trolling around on the ices of the NHL.
But now, with the Rangers often looking sluggish and practically boring during games, he has to take him back. Who knew that fans would be so livid with the departure of Avery? There were signs and blogposts that were so angry, the people coming up with them could have been mistaken for Occupy Wall Street participants.
Avery has easily become a part of New York Rangers culture. No matter what he does, he will always return. He’s carved himself out a spot in these past few seasons that no one can take away from him (and would probably never want to).
Originally, it seemed like Avery would be heading to Europe by the time this season was over, but now it seems like the Rangers will be keeping him longer than they had ever wanted to. Avery is great an all, but he’s kind of like that person you’re dating who your parents absolutely hate. They would do anything to make them go away, but you care about them too much to let them go.
Avery isn’t much of a responsible asset for New York, but even when he left in ‘08, fans found themselves emotionally tied to No. 16. A small town boy has made himself a true-blue New Yorker. He owns a restaurant in the city and has blended himself into the New York atmosphere. He isn’t going to get plus 20 goals.
And anyway, let’s just face the hard, cold truth.
Avery is what people expect from New Yorkers though, isn’t he? We’re always perceived as being these rude, nasty, impatient and vicious people; Fans of other NHL teams see Avery and see New York. While the Rangers aren’t much of a feisty and aggressive team, anyone who sees Avery out on the ice might think that we are. Back in the day, Avery was the type of player who, if he gave a crap and stepped out onto the ice, he could shift the momentum of a game as if it were a weak pendulum. I’m still convinced that one epic playoff series against the Devils was more or less the Sean Avery show. They named a penalty after him for crying out loud.
Avery is a good player, but his real purpose is to get other teams so angry and frustrated that they aren’t able to play well anymore. It’s worked before and it needs to start working now. Question is, can Avery be that player again without driving Tortorella up a wall?